Donors rally to provide food, safety, hope: SVCF distributes $91M to COVID-19 causes

ALAS Group
Staff and volunteers from ALAS distribute food at a pop-up pantry to serve those in need on the San Mateo County coast.

In a rural part of the San Mateo County coast where many households are low-income and lack consistent access to safe drinking water, three generations of the Martinez* family live together – grandparents, two adult children, grandchildren. With the onset of the pandemic, only one member of this big household is employed, at a local farm. Fortunately, with help from an SVCF grant, the family is receiving assistance from Ayudando Latinos a Soñar (ALAS), a nonprofit serving low-income families on the coastside. ALAS received a grant through SVCF’s Regional Nonprofit Emergency Fund and used part of it to provide the Martinezes – and other families with similar hardships – with groceries, drinking water and a gift card to purchase additional basic food items.

ALAS staff and volunteers deliver free protective face masks for local essential workers through their new campaign "Un Respiro de Vida / A Breath of Life,” which is focused on protecting and supporting workers on the coastside.

Stories like these are playing out time and again in communities across the Bay Area as the pandemic and its economic effects deepen. In addition to ALAS, as of May 11, our Regional Nonprofit Emergency Fund had sent grant funds to about 200 nonprofits in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Check out the list here, which is being updated regularly.

There is still so much for us all to do to counteract COVID-19 and its economic damage. We know the road ahead will be long. In the meantime we are proud to say that – thanks to the generosity of SVCF fundholders and others who have donated to our funds – in the first four months of 2020, SVCF distributed grants totaling $91 million to COVID-19 related causes.

That figure includes grants from all types of funds, including donor advised, corporate advised and all of our COVID-19 response funds, which are described below.

Here's what we know so far about the valuable impact our coronavirus response funds have had: 

  • Food assistance to over 107,000 individuals and families

  • Housing and financial assistance to over 4,500 individuals, plus1,800 individuals in process to receive assistance

  • Emergency grants to 212 local nonprofits across the Bay Area

  • Loan payment assistance to 2,400 small businesses

To donate to our COVID-19 response funds, click here. You can also read more about them below.

COVID-19 Regional Response Fund

Help for Individuals and Families: This fund focuses on basic needs such as housing/shelter, food, clothing and financial assistance (determined by need) to individuals and families in 10 Bay Area counties.

COVID-19 Regional Nonprofit Emergency Fund

Help for Nonprofits: This fund provides flexible operating support grants to nonprofit organizations serving one or more of the 10 counties. SVCF distributes grants to lead nonprofit organizations in each county, which are listed here.

COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund

Help for Small Businesses: This fund provides immediate support to struggling self-employed and small business owners. Our partner, Opportunity Fund, California’s largest nonprofit microlender, is helping ensure critical capital remains available to these entities throughout this crisis.

COVID-19 Education Partnership

SVCF’s partnership with the San Mateo County and Santa Clara County Offices of Education is an initiative supporting the needs of our local county offices of education and school districts through this unprecedented crisis. The pandemic has forced widespread school and childcare center closures, disrupting the education, health and well-being of students, families and communities.

COVID-19 Childcare Project

Childcare providers are at risk of losing their livelihoods due to shelter-in-place orders in California. Private providers – especially those operating in home-based settings – often have limited financial mean, operate with small profit margins and are particularly vulnerable. This fund provides emergency grants of up to $10,000 to childcare providers, as well as other forms of assistance.

Silicon Valley Strong and San Mateo County Strong initiatives

Similar to SVCF’s three main COVID-19 Regional Response Funds, these initiatives support individuals and families in need, nonprofits whose operations are affected, and small businesses with employees at risk of lost wages in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, respectively. These funds are administered by SVCF, and additional community support in the form of volunteering, digital resource hubs, and more are coordinated by each county.

Learn more about Silicon Valley Strong and San Mateo County Strong

Individuals, families and companies that would like to support pandemic relief efforts, please contact SVCF at or donate via the fund pages linked above. Thank you for your commitment to assisting others.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.