COVID-19 Response: Progress Update, April 29, 2020

As you can imagine, it has been an intense few weeks for our team. While taking care of each other, we’ve been in constant contact with our grantee partners, working the phones – and Zooming – to complete three lightning rounds of grant-making. Below is a summary of what’s been accomplished to date, and how we’re targeting your generous support.

Tackling Inequities Heightened by COVID-19

In all of our work, The Foundation prioritizes the needs of New York’s most vulnerable and marginalized communities—the  women, girls and gender nonconforming/nonbinary people who are least likely to be heard, least likely to be funded, and as we’re seeing, the most likely to suffer the gravest tolls when disaster strikes.

While this crisis is unprecedented, we’ve been here before. In the face of the Great Recession, Hurricane Sandy, and more recently, the political shifts that disproportionately punish low-income, immigrant and communities of color, we have quickly disbursed millions of dollars and strategized solutions to save lives, improve economic security, and rebuild.

We will do so again by marshaling our full resources in our multi-pronged initiative: The COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund. And we’ll continue to carry out existing programs within this new, evolving reality.

Grant-Making To Date

In recent weeks, we’ve:

Reached out to our most ardent supporters and raised $750,000 of this initial round of $1 million in emergency funding;

Awarded $400,000 to 28 grantee partners who are quickly using those dollars to meet the desperate needs of their communities and stabilize their operations;

Are in constant contact with our grantees, triaging our support, and connecting them to our network of other funders, service providers, activist coalitions and government agencies to help them strengthen their ability to respond.

 

Our Grantee Partners’ On-the-Ground Response

To give you a sense of the depth of need and breadth of response, our support is helping our partners to:

Provide for emergency survival needs—assistance with food, rent, healthcare: Many women of color, immigrants and other marginalized workers serve in industries hardest hit by the shutdown. They are the hotel and restaurant workers, store clerks, child caregivers, housekeepers, nail salon workers and others who have been laid off, and have no safety nets to fall back on.

Advocate for benefits, hazard pay, PPE and tests/medical care for those at high risk of infection: They are the grocery store and delivery workers, elder caregivers, home health aides, and other low-paid healthcare workers on the front lines, yet have no sick leave, disability leave or basic protections on the job.

Protect Asian communities from violence fueled by racism and xenophobia: We’re funding virtual public education campaigns to prevent harassment and violence against Chinese and other East Asian women and girls, train bystanders to act, and save lives.

Respond to the surge in domestic and gender-based violence: Grantee partners who serve Black, pan-Asian, Latinx, Orthodox Jewish girls and TGNCNB communities are reaching out with life-saving information, financial help, counseling and emergency housing.

Share education and health resources, fund basic needs, and seek relief for undocumented workers who tend to work hard and pay taxes but are ineligible for federal crisis benefits.

Offer legal, emotional and material support to incarcerated women and their families.

Provide mentoring and social services to girls at risk of incarceration or in foster care, shelters, ICE detention or homeless; survivors of violence; LGBTQ+ and young mothers who have no family connections or live in dangerous settings.

 

Meeting the Challenge Ahead

Many of the small grassroots organizations we fund are fighting for their very survival. We’ve had to help them meet payroll, secure technology for remote work and online outreach, and find resources to take care of their staff. Yet they continue to be fierce in their commitment and ingenious in finding ways to meet the ongoing challenge (see the full list of grantee partners here).

In the weeks ahead, we will continue to put dollars against the most pressing needs. And we’ll begin to find ways to work with partners and other coalitions to make lasting change … to make sure the New York that emerges is more equitable, just—and unwilling to leave anyone behind.

As always, we are profoundly grateful for your support. You can help us grow The Fund by clicking here, or by texting STOPTHESPREAD to 44-321.

Stay strong, stay safe.

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