Blue Shield of California Foundation on Wednesday announced $6.8 million in grants to communities affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19). Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California, praised the grants in a statement:
The foundation will help thousands of vulnerable Californians who face increased health risks and financial hardship due to COVID-19. It will provide financial aid to organizations dealing with the rise in domestic violence to help those for whom shelter in place means living in fear. It is also supporting the California Immigrant Resilience Fund to help some of our most vulnerable neighbors find resources to deal with difficult financial and health challenges. It’s incredibly important that we work together to protect all our communities, especially those in need, deal with the pandemic in a timely manner.
California Gavin Newsom welcomed the support by the Foundation for undocumented Californians. Emerson Collective, The California Endowment, The James Irvine Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative were also lead investors in the Immigrant Resilience Fund. ““Every Californian, including our undocumented neighbors and friends, should know that California is here to support them during this crisis. We are all in this together,” Newsom said.
In announcing the grants, the foundation praised the work of the grantees:
The grants will support 14 community foundations addressing specific needs in their communities, provide immediate flexibility for domestic violence shelters, and aid organizations in efforts to meet the needs of low-wage workers and help people get basic necessities. Grants will also support efforts to get accurate information to the most vulnerable communities, including immigrant and non-English-speaking communities.
Included in these grants is also $1M to help launch the California Immigrant Resilience Fund, a new statewide fund to provide direct relief to undocumented immigrants during this crisis – and to encourage lasting solutions that protect health beyond this moment. California is home to more than two million undocumented individuals, with an additional five million Californians in mixed-status households. Many of these families already have retreated from using public benefits due to fear and confusion about the “public charge” rule. As a seed funder, the Foundation recognizes that undocumented immigrants, who are ineligible for federal response assistance, have been hit particularly hard by this crisis. The California Immigrant Resilience Fund will provide direct relief to families to help offset the health and economic risks they face due to COVID-19.
Carolyn Wang Kong, the Foundation’s chief program director, said the grants are intended to fill in the gaps for people stretched beyond their limits in the pandemic.
“This pandemic is affecting all Californians, but it’s not doing so equally,” Wang Kong said. “Many people cannot afford to create ‘physical distance’ to avoid the virus because their essential work requires them to leave the safety of their homes, while others have lost their jobs, don’t have benefits, and struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Additionally, people at risk of domestic violence are uniquely challenged by ‘shelter in place’ requirements, and many Californians are not getting accurate, science-based information in a language they can understand.”
Read the full statement here.