Seattle Foundation Blog

COVID-19 Response Fund tackles immediate needs of most vulnerable people with $10+ million in grants

Asian Counseling and Referral Services, Byrd Barr Place, Casa Latina, Chief Seattle Club, Eastside Refugee & Immigrant Coalition, Seattle Indian Health Board, and White Center CDA are among 128 nonprofits receiving funds to bolster frontline responses to the pandemic.


March 30, 2020

SEATTLE, Wash. — Over the last week, the COVID-19 Response Fund made $10.175 million in grants to community-based organizations responding to the immediate needs of vulnerable workers and families in the Puget Sound region. The grants were made to boost groups’ capabilities to provide disproportionately impacted communities with emergency assistance, such as rent support, food security, healthcare, and childcare. The full list of grantees can be found at www.seattlefoundation.org/COVIDGrants.

“We are very grateful to receive this generous support from the COVID-19 Response Fund. The American Indian and Alaska Native communities have been hit hard by this crisis and we have been overwhelmed with requests for assistance. This funding will allow Chief Seattle Club to deliver food to elders and provide immediate shelter to medically fragile relatives who are experiencing homelessness,” said Colleen Echohawk, Executive Director of Chief Seattle Club, one of the COVID-19 Response Fund grantees.

Hosted and administered by Seattle Foundation, the Fund’s first round of grants supports 128 organizations serving a wide range of residents. They include Asian Counseling and Referral Services, Byrd Barr Place, Casa Latina, Chief Seattle Club, Eastside Refugee & Immigrant Coalition, Seattle Indian Health Board, White Center CDA, and others.

Seattle Foundation worked with United Way of King County and King County’s Pandemic Community Advisory Group, which consists of more than 40 local leaders and experts, to identify this initial slate of grantees. This trio of organizations tapped into their deep community knowledge to elevate organizations that are closely aligned with the Fund’s priorities and criteria. They targeted frontline nonprofits that have the relationships and track record to deliver emergency assistance right now. Grants were dispersed last week, less than three weeks since the COVID-19 Response Fund was launched on March 9.

“With the novel coronavirus, we know there are communities that are most negatively impacted—including people of color, immigrants and refugees, low-wage workers and older people—both in terms of the virus itself as well as the economic impact. With broad representation from many sectors, we were able to focus the funding where the needs are greatest and support our strong, resilient communities,” said Matías Valenzuela, Equity Director of Public Health, Seattle & King County and Director of Community Mitigation for the County’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response.

The Fund prioritized supporting people who were affected first and hardest by the coronavirus crisis, such as low-income residents without health insurance and/or access to sick days, low-income workers in healthcare and the service industry, gig-economy workers, communities of color, people experiencing homelessness, as well as people with disabilities, greater health risks, limited English proficiency, and others.

"We are excited to share that the COVID-19 Response Fund has quickly deployed emergency assistance to our region’s most vulnerable people. But we know this is just the beginning," said Seattle Foundation President & CEO Tony Mestres. "The health and economic impacts of this virus will grow exponentially in the coming weeks and months. We must be prepared to tackle these increasing needs head-on. We hope that today's announcement inspires our community to continue with tremendous generosity so that we can all weather this terrible crisis together."

The COVID-19 Response Fund expects to make multiple rounds of grants as the pandemic unfolds. The Fund is supported by a broad coalition of 2,000+ online donors alongside more than 45 partners from philanthropy, business, and government, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the City of Seattle, Connie and Steve Ballmer, King County, Macklemore, Microsoft, Pivotal Ventures, and Seattle Seahawks.

The Fund currently totals $15.7 million. Later rounds of grantmaking from the Fund will adapt to the evolving community needs as the situation continues to unfold. Individuals and organizations can donate and find additional information about the COVID-19 Response Fund via www.seattlefoundation.org/covid19.

ABOUT SEATTLE FOUNDATION

Seattle Foundation ignites powerful, rewarding philanthropy to make Greater Seattle a stronger, more vibrant community for all. As a community foundation, it works to advance equity, shared prosperity, and belonging throughout the region while strengthening the impact of the philanthropists it serves. Founded in 1946 and with more than $1.1 billion in assets, the Foundation pursues its mission with a combination of deep community insight, civic leadership, philanthropic advising, and judicious financial stewardship.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES

Michele Frix at m.frix@seattlefoundation.org or 206.617.7281 (mobile)

Joy Portella at joy@minervastrategies.com or 206.437.7885 (mobile)

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