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Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards speaks at a press conference regarding updates to coronavirus in the state, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Baton Rouge, La. He is joined by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and LSU head coach Ed Orgeron.

A group of Baton Rouge-based foundations has contributed $1.2 million to a fund started by Governor John Bel Edwards to fill gaps in services amid the coronavirus crisis.

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation and Irene W. & C.B. Pennington Foundation each contributed $400,000 to the fund.

The dollars will help support the state until federal dollars become available.  

“These funds will help tremendously with addressing immediate needs that arise as we continue to combat the spread of COVID-19," said Gov. John Bel Edwards in a press release. "Louisiana has seen its share of challenges before, but the citizens of this great state are always eager to help their neighbors in need.”

The foundations have been "loyal to our communities after every big disaster" and have collaborated in relief efforts since Hurricane Katrina, said John Davies, president of BRAF.

Lori Bertman, president of the Pennington Foundation, said the fund is a "strategic and innovative way for public and private partners to collaborate in the best interest of serving the most vulnerable communities" in the state. 

While the crisis is global, "local challenges will require local resources," noted David Beach, president of the Wilson Foundation. "We pray these resources will provide food and shelter to those most in need."

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Email Blake Paterson at bpaterson@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter @blakepater