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Community Foundation, United Way announce latest round of COVID-19 grants

Maria Saporta
Home page image from the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund

By Maria Saporta

The fourth round of grants from Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund was announced Tuesday – a total of nearly $1.8 million that will be distributed to 18 organizations for emergency response.

Home page image from the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund

That brings the total of grants given by the Fund thus far to more than $10.5 million to 62 nonprofit organization.

The  Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund is a joint partnership between the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta. Grants made in the earlier rounds are detailed on both the Community Foundation’s website and United Way’s website.

According to a release from both organizations, the recipients from the fourth round are:

  • 100 Black Men of America($25,000) In response to the COVID-19 crisis, 100 Black Men of America plans to provide computers and internet access to 500 Clayton County students in grades K-12. Additionally, it will host virtual town hall meetings bringing together faith, financial, medical and political leaders and experts with experience working in African American communities to give community members the opportunity to discuss the physical, emotional and economic impacts of the crisis, and to share accurate and up to date information about the pandemic in metro Atlanta. The grant will supplement costs for these activities for the next 90 days.
  • Action Ministries ($100,000) Action Ministries mobilizes communities to address the challenges of poverty by focusing on hunger relief, housing and education. In response to COVID-19, Action Ministries has expanded its child feeding programs and has added new prevention and housing services to those directly impacted by COVID-19. This grant has the potential to reduce the number of children that will be facing food insecurity in the coming weeks and can provide financial assistance to prevent homelessness.
  • Atlanta Children’s Shelter ($50,000) Atlanta Children’s Shelter (ACS) supports families living in poverty in the metro Atlanta area who are facing or experiencing homelessness. Ninety-five percent of the families ACS serves are low or moderate income, and more than one third of the families they served last year were homeless due to domestic violence. Homeless and at-risk families have higher rates of chronic diseases than the rest of the population, tend to rely on services that make it harder to practice social distancing, and have a harder time accessing food and hygiene items. The grant will cover the costs of emergency rent and utility assistance, food, cleaning and disinfecting supplies, MARTA cards and mental health counseling provided to homeless, at-risk and recently housed families.
  • Atlanta Police Department Foundation (APD Foundation) ($150,000) The APD Foundation is facing added costs from COVID-19 in order to allow the city’s first responders (APD, Fire/Rescue and related City employees) to carry out their respective duties safely and hygienically. The APD Foundation has received financial support from many corporate and private funders. This grant will fulfill the estimated remaining costs around their response, which includes testing and monitoring the health of first responders and frontline medical staff, access to personal protective equipment as well as increased demand for food and programming at the Westside At-Promise Youth and Community Center.
  • Atlanta Regional Commission ($95,000) As the Area Agency on Aging for the 10-county metro Atlanta region, Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) issues notifications of funding availability for both the Federal Older Americans Act and state funds to provide direct services to older adults in the region. These are essential services including home delivered meals and congregate meals. ARC is working closely with its providers to find solutions to delivery challenges in the current climate and develop weekly communication channels with its most vulnerable clients. ARC also operates the Aging and Disability Resource Connection through which individuals speak with information and referral specialists about their needs. The grant will support one month of meal delivery for 625 seniors.
  • Catholic Charities Atlanta ($100,000) Catholic Charities Atlanta provides a holistic combination of social services to help individuals overcome barriers and achieve self-sufficiency. In response to COVID-19, it has transitioned to provide case management and emergency financial management services virtually. The organization is doing no-contact deliveries to get clients much-needed food and other supplies and has been disseminating language-appropriate resources to clients as well as helping clients apply for public benefits over the phone. It serves low-income families of all backgrounds, including immigrants (mostly Latinx), refugees, veterans and families involved with the Division of Family and Children Services. The grant will help cover the cost of rent and mortgage assistance and additional personnel, technology and supply costs to deliver their services.
  • Center for Family Resources ($150,000) Center for Family Resources (CFR) serves Cobb county families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless through financial assistance, education and case management services. CFR has also been providing food through the emergency food distribution sites operating throughout Cobb county. Since the state of emergency was declared, CFR has created a new fund for emergency rental, housing, hotel and utility assistance. The grant will supplement this fund to assist those at risk of losing their current housing because of an inability to pay.
  • Community Assistance Resources and Emergency Services (CARES) ($20,000) CARES serves Pickens county and provides food and essential non-food items, temporary financial assistance, supplemental financing for education and counseling for those in need. CARES is providing boxes of food for families for curbside pick-up once per week. At this time, anyone who is in need receives food. For people who are not able to leave their homes, deputies with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department are delivering food directly. The grant will support the cost of increased food and services currently needed.
  • Easter Seals North Georgia ($125,000) Easter Seals North Georgia (ESNG) focuses on strengthening children and families at the most critical times in a child’s development to ensure that all children have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities. ESNG serves 5,000 children and their families, 71 percent of children served are living in poverty and 60 percent have a disability. ESNG had to close their 13 early education sites during the pandemic and is providing individualized, virtual learning to families they support. This grant will supplement federal and state funding to provide support and resources to families in the areas of childcare, food insecurity, healthcare, telehealth and early intervention to 2,500 children, providing individualized learning to 1,500 children and connecting families to local resources for critical needs during this time.
  • Georgia Foundation for Early Care and Learning ($250,000) As the nonprofit arm of the Georgia Department for Early Care and Learning (DECAL), the Georgia Foundation for Early Care and Learning is providing direct assistance to the network of childcare providers and the families they serve by addressing two critical needs: childcare coverage for essential workers and financial assistance for child care providers. Essential workers are scrambling to find childcare during the crisis and many are not equipped to pay the cost, so this grant will help the organization provide additional child and parent services scholarships. The grant will also enable one-time incentive payments to both open and closed childcare programs to help cover staff costs and purchase necessary supplies.
  • Helping Mamas ($75,000) Helping Mamas is the baby supply bank for metro Atlanta and much of north Georgia, providing diapers, wipes, formula, other baby supplies, and hygienic and health supplies to local nonprofits that distribute them directly to families. Helping Mamas has seen a drastic increase in the demand for their services and are currently distributing nearly 15,000 diapers a day, including to new partners like Communities in Schools of Atlanta, DFCS offices, Sheltering Arms and the YMCA. Grant funding will help the organization meet this heightened demand and increased staff support required to respond to the need.
  • Housing Justice League ($40,000) Housing Justice League works with renters and homeowners to self-organize and defend their right to remain in their homes and neighborhoods, primarily in the Peoplestown neighborhood in Atlanta. Its COVID-19 response includes ensuring low-wealth residents are receiving timely, accurate and useful information about the pandemic and how to report dangerous landlord behavior through a COVID-19 Hotline. Through the Hotline residents can get updates on housing policy changes, access community resources and receive tenant organizing advice and assistance. Assistance is available in multiple languages. The grant will cover the cost of additional capacity for the COVID-19 Hotline.
  • Jewish Family and Career Services  ($200,000) In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization has implemented telehealth and alternate options for critical services and has expanded emergency assistance services. For all clinical services, including mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, support groups and assistance for domestic violence victims and survivors, individual and group sessions are available through telehealth phone sessions or via video conference. Emergency assistance services being provided include financial health and food for those with increased needs due to job losses, increased medical costs or childcare expenses. Based on current call volume, the organization could provide $716,250 in emergency financial assistance in 90 days, as well as $50,000-$100,000 in food costs. The grant will help support these increased costs.
  • Just People ($100,000) Just People has had to cancel all social events, suspend their day program, close administrative offices and cut staff salaries. All non-critical medical appointments have been postponed while therapy and psychiatric appointments have transitioned to online or phone appointments. To date, 32 of Just People’s clients – live-in adults with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries and mental illnesses – have been laid off or fired from their jobs, making it impossible for them to pay their rent and utilities or purchase food. Just People has created a “store” for clients to shop (at no cost) for toiletries, frozen and canned food, snacks, drinks and staples like bread, milk and fruit. This grant will address the increased need for rent and utilities support.
  • Literacy for All ($60,000) Literacy for All (LFA) connects the Georgia literacy community to innovate, champion and fund multi-generational literacy opportunities. Many low-income families around the state do not have internet service needed for their children to actively engage in online learning and continue their education consistently during this crisis. LFA started an Emergency Connectivity Initiative, partnering with the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, the Georgia Public Library Service and other organizations to address this urgent need. This grant will allow matching funds for LFA to purchase approximately 1,000 Wi-Fi devices with coverage plans to support families in need through the next 60 days.
  • National Church Residences Foundation (NCR) ($95,000) NCR provides high-quality care, services and residential communities for seniors. The organization’s topmost priority is to ensure the basic care needs of its senior residents are met. For the 1,465 Atlanta residents served, NCR is guaranteeing residents have food, paper products and cleaning supplies. NCR will also partner with Fulton County Senior Services to use its Big Bethel Village commercial kitchen as a food preparation and delivery hub to deliver over 300 meals to greater Atlanta seniors to three communities (one meal per day). In order to do so, the kitchen must be completely cleaned and disinfected to meet food safety standards and repairs need to be made to the existing commercial refrigerator and freezer for food storage, and the grant will support these added costs.
  • Real Life Center ($100,000) Real Life Center provides a safe place for people from all walks of life going through these tough times to access resources that create stability and strengthen families and our community. In response to COVID-19, Real Life Center is offering emergency food assistance to anyone in need in Coweta and Fayette counties, offering pre-bagged uncooked meals with enough food for a week, including produce and meats. The organization is currently serving 250 families a week, which is double the number of families it typically serves this time of year and expected to rise. This grant will support food supplies and distribution for approximately six weeks.
  • Single Parent Alliance and Resource Center ($50,000) Single Parent Alliance and Resource Center (SPARC) was founded by an African American single mother to work with single parents to provide the necessary tools, resources and support to create a healthy and nurturing home environment. SPARC is a placed-based agency that works directly in the apartment complexes in which their clients live. Since the COVID-19 outbreak SPARC has called over 100 single parents to assess their immediate needs. This grant will help provide emergency food as well as financial support to prevent eviction and utility shut off for single parent families, 90 percent of whom are parents of color.

Grants from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund focus on immediate and critical needs to support those most vulnerable. United Way and Community Foundation staff, with the guidance of a volunteer steering committee comprised of leading individuals from civic, corporate and nonprofit sectors across the region, are identifying additional organizations currently providing or receiving requests for support.

The Fund created an application process for nonprofits across the region to explain their grant needs and indicate how the Fund could help. Open from April 6 – 10, more than 650 nonprofit organizations requested funding through this period, indicative of the significant impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on our region. Grant announcements from the applications received will be made the week of April 27.

The Fund was announced March 17 with Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta committing $1 million and United Way of Greater Atlanta contributing $500,000 to seed the Fund. As of today, commitments have been secured from  the Coca-Cola CompanyRobert W. Woodruff Foundation, and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, each donated $5 million to the Fund in support. Other current funders include the City of Atlanta, The Goizueta Foundation, The Klump Family Foundation and Truist Foundation, contributing $1 million each, Gas SouthGlobal Payments and Wells Fargocontributing $250,000 each, the Sara Giles Moore Foundation contributing $100,000, Holder Construction CompanyThe Primerica Foundation and Regions Bank contributing $50,000 each, Anthem, the Betty and Davis Fitzgerald Foundation, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLPKPMGRSUI Indemnity CompanyScana Energy and The Vasser Wooley Foundation, Inc., contributing $25,000 each, and $25,000 jointly from11Alive and the TEGNA Foundation.

Individuals and families impacted and in need of support can contact United Way of Greater Atlanta’s 2-1-1 Contact Center. Due to high call volumes, texting is the quickest way to get in touch with United Way 2-1-1. Text 211od to 898-211 to get a list of resources by zip code. The 2-1-1 database is another quick way to find resources during this time of increased call volume. 2-1-1 is a valuable resource that is available 24-hours and 7 days-a-week.

Individuals who wish to contribute to supporting our region’s nonprofits can donate to the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund here. Support funds will be released on a rolling basis throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, updates will be posted on both the Community Foundation’s website and United Way’s website. Nonprofits as well as community members can share information on local needs through a digital listening tool on United Way’s website. The next round of grants will be announced the week of April 27.

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Maria Saporta
Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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