The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt our most vulnerable and exacerbated socio-economic disparities. In the face of challenges to our communities, the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund has engaged in activities that align with its mission to improve the health and well-being of the most in need and strategies for deepest impact.
SJCPF found that immediate and mid-term aid could help long-term sustainability and stability when it comes to disaster response, highlighting the model of relief, recovery, and resiliency. Listening to and learning from the community was key in responding to needs and investing in strengths. By doing so, the fund learned early on that the nonprofit sector was getting hit hard, with severely contracted revenue streams, and growing service demand, community needs included basic needs such as PPE, food, health care and income assistance, mental health, and DV services, and the hardest hit populations included communities of color, low income, disabled, veterans, undocumented migrants, and uninsured.
“Individuals are facing unprecedented challenges and increased basic needs, while nonprofits are challenged with an overwhelming increase in demand for services and elevated costs, at the same time their revenue has decreased as in person events and contracts have been reduced or eliminated. The need to fill this gap is greater than ever,” said Gabriela Robles, associate vice president for the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund.
In response, SJCPF implemented changes to ease the way for nonprofit partners and partnering with the wider grantmaking community. All of this resulted in the collaboration of grantmaking fund and organizations across the west coast, including the Orange County Community Resilience Fund (OCCRF) in which SJCPF was a leading partner and raised $4.3 million that was distributed to 164 organizations impacted by COVID-19.
In March 2020, the Providence St. Joseph Health Community Resilience Fund: Response to Impact of COVID-19 on Vulnerable Communities was developed to provide immediate support for community organizations serving the most vulnerable populations including low-income individuals and families, veterans, the homeless, people with disabilities, and the uninsured.
More than $500,000 in grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 were awarded to 20 different organizations in Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. The funding enabled grant recipients to serve clients with greater space, food, and PPE, thus ensuring that as client needs and numbers soared those organizations could continue to serve them in a way that contained further spread of the virus.
Later in 2020, SJCPF launched the Community Resilience and Recovery Initiative (CRRI) to sustain and further build the capacity of existing collaboratives that strive to improve equity and advance justice in their communities that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, positioning these groups to address the needs to come in 2021. Grants ranging from $25,000 to $75,000 will be made to 22 organizations in Providence regions in 2021. SJCPF also released $1 million to 36 organizations in December 2020 to support food insecurity throughout communities served by Providence.
SJCPF will continue to welcome and foster new relationships with organizations throughout Providence regions and aim to create more equitable and resilient communities.
"Together, we can effectively triage needs, responding to emergency requests, keeping open lines of communication between donors and organizations, and building a plan to provide longer-term support that incorporates what we are hearing from our front-line nonprofit partners to meet the challenges to the community that are to come,” said Jason Lacsamana, director of partnerships and programs for St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund.