"What are we going to do moving forward? I am having the most intense stress that I've experienced, because we don't know how we are going to pay the rent."
-Undocumented immigrant, Half Moon Bay, June 2020
COVID-19 has revealed that our social safety nets are far too weak to sustain those in need during a significant crisis. We know that during these last several months, the effects of the pandemic have hit communities of color especially hard, highlighting the structural racism that drives disparities in nearly every facet of our country. The economic tolls of the COVID-19 crisis have disproportionately affected those who were already living in the margins of our society; low-income families, communities of color, and undocumented immigrants have largely shouldered the burdens of this pandemic, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.
SVCF has placed racial equity squarely at the center of our work, and we are committed to pursuing deep, structural changes to improve our communities and reduce systemic racial disparities and injustice. We have demonstrated this most recently in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the last several months, we have poured nearly all our efforts into raising money to help people weather this crisis who are facing food shortages, loss of income, and possible loss of their housing, and into supporting a wide range of community-based organizations helping those in need.
There is still much work to be done. As we approach what could be a recovery phase in coming months, we are proud to report that— thanks to the generosity of our fundholders and those who have contributed to our funds— we have been able to deploy $165 million into our communities to support 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:
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.
Individuals, families and companies that would like to support pandemic relief efforts, please contact SVCF at firstname.lastname@example.org or donate via the fund pages linked above. Thank you for your commitment to assisting others.
As many of us slowly begin to emerge from a three-month period of quarantine, we must remember that we are not close to being out of the woods. COVID-19 hospitalization cases are climbing throughout California, and we know that we can’t return to a “normal” life soon. We must use this crisis as an opportunity to reimagine and retool our systems so that our communities can evolve from this crisis into better and more just places for us all to live and work.