DERBY — More than $78,000 worth of grants from the Valley Community COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund have been distributed to 18 organizations.

The fund is a collaborative creation by the Valley Community Foundation, Valley United Way, Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Valley Council of Health & Human Services.

The grants that have been awarded, which include funding for personal protective equipment (PPEs), food, operational support, and technological assistance, are among the first in a series of distributions providing funding to organizations whose staff is working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants awarded are made possible thanks to those supporting this fund.

“Thanks to many very generous individuals, corporations, and foundations, we’ve been able to rapidly deploy their gifts to our community’s nonprofits to support their workers’ front-line activities during this crisis,” said David Kennedy, Valley United Way interim president. “It is a humbling example of how our community Lives United. We look forward to additional gifts to continue what has begun as the needs in the community only increase.”

Within one month of inception, the Valley Community COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund has received nearly $175,000 thanks to the contributions of individuals, businesses and VCF donor advised fund holders. Donations are still urgently needed as the fund will be assisting a range of organizations serving the Valley throughout both the response and recovery phases of this pandemic, an announcement said.

Among the key funders to date is the Bassett Family Fund.

“When we owned our company, the Valley and its people were our family. They helped us make a great product and we wanted to make sure they were taken care of,” said William “Bill” C. Bassett, a founding member of the Valley Community Foundation board of directors and former owner of The W. E. Bassett Co.

“That is why we are very happy to be a part of something that will be used to provide support both now as the Valley responds to the virus, and during the recovery phase while people get back on their feet,” added Bassett.

A second round of grant funding is now open and will include eligibility for organizations that are implementing online programming and services that support the well-being of Valley residents. Applications for the second round of grants are due by Monday, April 27, at noon.

“We are delighted to see such an immediate outpouring of support for this Fund,” said Sharon Closius, Valley Community Foundation president and CEO. “There is still however a long road ahead of us in terms of how the Valley is able to come through these challenging times in a way that is stronger and more unified than before.”

Closius urged those looking to make an impact to visit and support this collective effort.

“All of us at the Chamber are deeply moved by the extraordinary acts of compassionate service demonstrated by each of the award recipients during this public health crisis,” said Bill Purcell, Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce president. “We offer our special thanks to the donors whose generosity has made these grants possible, and urge our member businesses and the community at large to support this Fund at whatever level possible.”

Gifts via credit card are preferred over checks to reduce processing time. Checks can, however, be made out to Valley Community Response and Recovery Fund and mailed to 253-A Elizabeth St., Derby, CT 06418.