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16 WAYS TO HELP SCHOOLS NOW

May 27, 2020
Instead, we need to dig in to support our students, educators, and school communities—even if we need to do it from a distance.

We talked to those on the education frontlines to get tips on the most meaningful ways to help now, and as we look ahead.

16 things you can do to help Philly schools now

1. HELP MAKE WI-FI UNIVERSAL

The School District of Philadelphia was able to purchase 2,500 mobile hotspots through a grant they received from the state. But those units cost roughly $185 each, and need to be renewed annually, which will be especially critical if students can’t get back into classrooms in the fall.

“This is a civil rights issue,” says Scott Gordon, the CEO of Mastery Charter Schools. “We have a systemic, structural barrier for thousands of children to access education. This is an opportunity to fundamentally disrupt the inequity that occurs every day and is only being further highlighted by the pandemic.”

Visit The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia to donate directly to its TECH Fund, and donate to Mastery Charter Schools here.

2. CELEBRATE GRADS

The District will hold an hour-long virtual graduation ceremony on Tuesday, June 9, at 11am (Details here.)

But the class of 2020 has been deprived of so many milestone celebrations. If you have access to resources like advertising, billboard, commercials or any other public displays, reach out to the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia to help with their campaign of celebration.

Or, join Elkins Park resident and kindergarten teacher Kelli Wyatt’s grassroots Facebook group, “Adopt a High School Senior 2020,” which is raising scholarship funds for graduating seniors. So far, the group has raised $25,000 to help more than 500 students.

3. KEEP KIDS READING

In the spirit of minimizing the summer slide and, now, the Covid slide, the literacy program Read to Succeed is looking for donations and volunteer (online) readers. Donate here (select Read to Succeed from the dropdown menu) and contact Read to Succeed for info on being a community reader.

The Center for Black Educator Development is looking for high school and college students who want to develop skills as aspiring teachers, and impact the literacy rates of rising first through third graders in our communities. Sign up and learn more here.

You can also support Read by 4th, by donating to the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation and designating that your donation should go to Read by 4th. They’ll also be launching a new summer volunteer portal on their website soon, to recruit people to read aloud virtually.

And if you want to donate children’s books, you can contact Read by 4th’s partner, Tree House Books, to donate books that will then be redistributed to families.

4. EMPLOY TEENS THIS SUMMER (VIRTUALLY)

Philadelphia Youth Network is committed to working with the School District to provide students with virtual employment and shadowing opportunities this summer. Go here to donate money, offer opportunities, or (if you’re a student) apply for work.

5. SUPPORT SPECIFIC SCHOOLS

Contact your neighborhood school, kids’ school, your alma mater, or whatever individual schools you feel a connection to, and ask what needs they have and how you can help. You can find email addresses for leaders of Philly public schools on their individual home pages.

In addition to its broader campaigns, the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia also has its Philly FUNDamentals program, where individual schools post the things they need here.

6. SUPPORT INDIVIDUAL TEACHERS

A teacher stands in front of a class. Supporting individual teachers is a great way to help Philly schools after the coronavirus pandemic.
Photo courtesy Taylor Wilcox / Unsplash

Educators around the country are continuing to post their specific classroom needs online at Donors Choose. You can find local teachers’ requests here.

7. HELP SCHOOLS GET MORE FUNDING

Facing a projected $38 million funding shortfall for the 2020-21 academic year, the School District launched the Fund Our Schools advocacy plan, a call-to-action encouraging people to use their voices to advocate for public education funding.

The District is asking that you call and email your state senator, state representative, and Governor Wolf, and join their social media campaign, #fundourschools, to let them know that you are counting on them to Fund Our Schools. For more info, see here.

“What the teachers need are resources for the kids, and the way that the public can help most at this time is by becoming advocates for the funding for the school district,” says Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. He says the next few weeks are crucial, as budgets are being finalized. “We need the support of parents and others who really care about education and the city to advocate for schools to be well-funded.”

8. ADVOCATE FOR SAFER BUILDINGS

While you’re at it, says Franklin Learning Center teacher Jessica Way, demand politicians treat schools like the frontlines in the battle against Covid-19 and teachers like frontline workers—who need buildings that are safe, healthy and clean.

Even before the pandemic, our school facilities were plagued with environmental crises that displaced and disrupted the academic year and jeopardized public health. “We’re still fighting for lead and asbestos abatement,” Way says. “With the increased building staff needed to maintain clean schools during the pandemic, let’s tackle some of these ongoing environmental issues as well.”

9. TELL TEENS TO VOTE!

The best way for young people to ensure our elected officials are listening to their educational needs? By casting a ballot.

Vote That Jawn, the local grassroots initiative spearheaded by author/playwright/Penn professor Lorene Cary and a team of students, is determined to get 10,000 first-time voters to register and vote in 2020. Show them how easy it is as VoteThatJawn.com.

10. SPEAK UP

The District’s parent and guardian survey is live until June 5, which means there’s still time for you to share your thoughts on your child’s school, including how it’s pivoted during the pandemic.

And you can attend the School Board’s virtual meetings by submitting testimony in writing or sharing it during the meeting via their virtual platform.

Info on the next meeting is here, but every meeting has a separate link, so be sure to check the school Board’s “Meetings” tab on their webpageEmail the School Board for additional info.

11. BE EMPATHETIC

“Assume that whomever you’re talking to is doing the best that they can,” says Maureen Boland, a ninth grade English teacher at Parkway Center City Middle College (and occasional Citizen columnist). She’d like to see more teachers have more faith in families.

“Sometimes we, as teachers, don’t have a great imagination about what families are contending with. I talked to ten kids one morning, and two of them had lost people to the virus. Start with the assumption that everybody is doing the best that they can and nobody is trying to beat the system.”

12. HAVE PATIENCE

Ismael Jimenez, a high school teacher of African American history at Kensington CAPA, is not only teaching his students from home—but juggling his four sons, while his wife, an essential worker, is out of the house. “Teachers are putting all of their effort into this,” he says, but there’s no way to completely mimic the school-based experience, in terms of socialization and everything else that happens in a classroom setting.

13. SHARE YOUR SKILLS

Jimenez points out that many teachers would welcome parents or community members to share their passions and skills with (virtual) classrooms. “Put yourself out there, reach out to teachers, and get involved,” he says.

Are you a scientist who can make a guest appearance to spice up a high school chem class? A musician who can drop into virtual band rehearsal? A Philly-phile who can teach a 4th grade history lesson on the region? Raise your hand—teachers—and students—will thank you.

14. GET PPE READY FOR KIDS

Way points out that when schools do reopen, we’ll need to make sure kids have appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)—not just for the sake of others in the building, but to ensure kids aren’t bringing the virus home. Many students, as Donald Price of Asociación Puertorriqueños En Marcha points out, live with grandparents in inter-generational homes.

Franklin Learning Center’s Jessica Way also foresees a greater need for hand sanitizer; if and when school does resume, ask your child’s teacher if they’re seeking bottles of it, or call a school and see if you can donate some to them.

15. DON’T OVERLOOK PARA EDUCATORS

A para educator helps a child learn to read. When looking for ways to help Philly schools, don't overlook the para educators!
Photo courtesy Aw Creative / Unsplash

The School District of Philadelphia employs 2,500 para educators, who are in schools to support our most vulnerable students—like immigrants, those with special needs and those for whom English is a second language.

Philly welcomes “paras,” as they’re known, into the Teachers Union, and they do have contracts—but their pay is dismal: They start at $15,000 a year, and max out at $30,000.

Leah Wood, a teacher at Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences, leads the local grassroots Para Power initiative and says that many paras work second and third jobs, and struggle to pay their bills or support their families.

Para Power has started a relief fund to help support paras in-need, and welcome more voices calling on their Council people and the School District for higher wages, more professional development, and more tech support (many paras are currently using Google Classroom on their phones, because they don’t have access to a laptop). Donate here.

16. PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO FEED OUR STUDENTS.

As the frequency of meal distribution days goes down, and particularly as we head into summer months when students often have less access to food, kids and their families will still need healthy meals.

One way to help: The School District of Philadelphia will be sending all families EBT cards in the amount of about $365, to be used for food, using Federally-allocated funds. If yours is not in-need, don’t throw it away or send it back. Instead, local community organizer and former City Commissioner candidate Marwan Kreidie suggests using it for your groceries, and then donating that same amount to a food relief organization like West Kensington Ministry, which runs several food and assistance programs, particularly for immigrants.

Philabundance also welcomes donations through their Covid-19 relief fund here, and you can call your local food bank or pantry to see what needs you can safely support while still following social distancing guidelines.

Asociación Puertorriqueños En Marcha’s Price encourages people to give whatever they can. Just ask yourself, he says: What do I have that other people might need?

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

COVID-19 Exacerbating Challenges for Latino Patients

May 27, 2020

Pamela Montano, MD, recalls the recent case of a patient with bipolar II disorder who was improving after treatment with medication and therapy when her life was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The patient, who is Puerto Rican, lost two cousins to the virus, two of her brothers fell ill, and her sister became sick with coronavirus, said Dr. Montano, director of the Latino Bicultural Clinic at Gouverneur Health in New York. The patient was then left to care for her sister’s toddlers along with the patient’s own children, one of whom has special needs.

“After this happened, it increased her anxiety,” Dr. Montano said in an interview. “She’s not sleeping, and she started having panic attacks. My main concern was how to help her cope.”

Across the country, clinicians who treat mental illness and behavioral disorders in Latino patients are facing similar experiences and challenges associated with COVID-19 and the ensuing pandemic response. Current data suggest a disproportionate burden of illness and death from the novel coronavirus among racial and ethnic groups, particularly black and Hispanic patients.

“The COVID pandemic has highlighted the structural inequities that affect the Latino population [both] immigrant and nonimmigrant,” said Dr Pamela Montano. //Courtesy Dr Pamela Montano

The disparities are likely attributable to economic and social conditions more common among such populations, compared with non-Hispanic whites, in addition to isolation from resources, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A recent New York City Department of Health study based on data that were available in late April found that deaths from COVID-19 were substantially higher for black and Hispanic/Latino patients than for white and Asian patients. The death rate per 100,000 population was 209.4 for blacks, 195.3 for Hispanics/Latinos, 107.7 for whites, and 90.8 for Asians.

Caption: “The COVID pandemic has highlighted the structural inequities that affect the Latino population [both] immigrant and nonimmigrant,” said Dr Pamela Montano.

“The COVID pandemic has highlighted the structural inequities that affect the Latino population [both] immigrant and nonimmigrant,” said Dr. Montano, a board member of the American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry and the officer of infrastructure and advocacy for the Hispanic Caucus of the American Psychiatric Association. “This includes income inequality, poor nutrition, history of trauma and discrimination, employment issues, quality education, access to technology, and overall access to appropriate cultural linguistic health care.”

Navigating Challenges

For mental health professionals treating Latino patients, COVID-19 and the pandemic response have generated a range of treatment obstacles.

The transition to telehealth for example, has not been easy for some patients, said Jacqueline Posada, MD, consultation-liaison psychiatry fellow at the Inova Fairfax Hospital–George Washington University program in Falls Church, Va., and an APA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration minority fellow. Some patients lack Internet services, others forget virtual visits, and some do not have working phones, she said.

Dr Jacqueline Posada

“I’ve had to be very flexible,” she said in an interview. “Ideally, I’d love to see everybody via video chat, but a lot of people either don’t have a stable Internet connection or Internet, so I meet the patient where they are. Whatever they have available, that’s what I’m going to use. If they don’t answer on the first call, I will call again at least three to five times in the first 15 minutes to make sure I’m giving them an opportunity to pick up the phone.”

In addition, Dr. Posada has encountered disconnected phones when calling patients for appointments. In such cases, Dr. Posada contacts the patient’s primary care physician to relay medication recommendations in case the patient resurfaces at the clinic.

In other instances, patients are not familiar with video technology, or they must travel to a friend or neighbor’s house to access the technology, said Hector Colón-Rivera, MD, an addiction psychiatrist and medical director of the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha Behavioral Health Program, a nonprofit organization based in the Philadelphia area. Telehealth visits frequently include appearances by children, family members, barking dogs, and other distractions, said Dr. Colón-Rivera, president of the APA Hispanic Caucus.

Dr Hector Colon-Rivera

“We’re seeing things that we didn’t used to see when they came to our office – for good or for bad,” said Dr. Colón-Rivera, an attending telemedicine physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “It could be a good chance to meet our patient in a different way. Of course, it creates different stressors. If you have five kids on top of you and you’re the only one at home, it’s hard to do therapy.”

Psychiatrists are also seeing prior health conditions in patients exacerbated by COVID-19 fears and new health problems arising from the current pandemic environment. Dr. Posada recalls a patient whom she successfully treated for premenstrual dysphoric disorder who recently descended into severe clinical depression. The patient, from Colombia, was attending school in the United States on a student visa and supporting herself through child care jobs.

“So much of her depression was based on her social circumstance,” Dr. Posada said. “She had lost her job, her sister had lost her job so they were scraping by on her sister’s husband’s income, and the thing that brought her joy, which was going to school and studying so she could make a different life for herself than what her parents had in Colombia, also seemed like it was out of reach.”

Dr. Colón-Rivera recently received a call from a hospital where one of his patients was admitted after becoming delusional and psychotic. The patient was correctly taking medication prescribed by Dr. Colón-Rivera, but her diabetes had become uncontrolled because she was unable to reach her primary care doctor and couldn’t access the pharmacy. Her blood sugar level became elevated, leading to the delusions.

“A patient that was perfectly stable now is unstable,” he said. “Her diet has not been good enough through the pandemic, exacerbating her diabetes. She was admitted to the hospital for delirium. Patients are suffering from changes in their daily structure affecting not only their mental health, but their health in general.”

Compounding of Traumas

For many Latino patients, the adverse impacts of the pandemic comes on top of multiple prior traumas, such as violence exposures, discrimination, and economic issues, said Lisa Fortuna, MD, MPH, MDiv, chief of psychiatry and vice chair at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. A 2017 analysis found that nearly four in five Latino youth face at least one traumatic childhood experience, like poverty or abuse, and that about 29% of Latino youth experience four or more of these traumas.

Immigrants in particular, may have faced trauma in their home country and/or immigration trauma, Dr. Fortuna added. A 2013 study on immigrant Latino adolescents for example, found that 29% of foreign-born adolescents and 34% of foreign-born parents experienced trauma during the migration process (Int Migr Rev. 2013 Dec;47(4):10).

Dr Lisa Fortuna

“All of these things are cumulative,” Dr. Fortuna said. “Then when you’re hit with a pandemic, all of the disparities that you already have and all the stress that you already have are compounded. This is for the kids, too, who have been exposed to a lot of stressors and now maybe have family members that have been ill or have died. All of these things definitely put people at risk for increased depression [and] the worsening of any preexisting posttraumatic stress disorder. We’ve seen this in previous disasters, and I expect that’s what we’re going to see more of with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

At the same time, a central cultural value of many Latinos is family unity, Dr. Montano said, a foundation that is now being strained by social distancing and severed connections.

“This has separated many families,” she said. “There has been a lot of loneliness and grief.”

Mistrust and fear toward the government, public agencies, and even the health system itself act as further hurdles for some Latinos in the face of COVID-19. In areas with large immigrant populations such as San Francisco, Dr. Fortuna noted, it’s not uncommon for undocumented patients to avoid accessing medical care and social services, or visiting emergency departments for needed care for fear of drawing attention to themselves or possible detainment.

“The fact that so many people showed up at our hospital so ill and ended up in the ICU — that could be a combination of factors. Because the population has high rates of diabetes and hypertension, that might have put people at increased risk for severe illness,” she said. “But some people may have been holding out for care because they wanted to avoid being in places out of fear of immigration scrutiny.”

Overcoming Language Barriers

Compounding the challenging pandemic landscape for Latino patients is the fact that many state resources about COVID-19 have not been translated to Spanish, Dr. Colón-Rivera said. He was troubled recently when he went to several state websites and found limited to no information in Spanish about the coronavirus.

Some data about COVID-19 from the federal government were not translated to Spanish until officials received pushback, he added. Even now, press releases and other information disseminated by the federal government about the virus appear to be translated by an automated service — and lack sense and context.

The state agencies in Pennsylvania have been alerted to the absence of Spanish information, but change has been slow, he noted.

“In Philadelphia, 23% speaks a language other than English,” he said. “So we missed a lot of critical information that could have helped to avoid spreading the illness and access support.”

Dr. Fortuna said that California has done better with providing COVID-19–related information in Spanish, compared with some other states, but misinformation about the virus and lingering myths have still been a problem among the Latino community. The University of California, San Francisco, recently launched a Latino Task Force resource website for the Latino community that includes information in English, Spanish, and Yucatec Maya about COVID-19, health and wellness tips, and resources for various assistance needs.

The concerning lack of COVID-19 information translated to Spanish led Dr. Montano to start a Facebook page in Spanish about mental health tips and guidance for managing COVID-19–related issues. She and her team of clinicians share information, videos, relaxation exercises, and community resources on the page, among other posts. “There is also general info and recommendations about COVID-19 that I think can be useful for the community,” she said. “The idea is that patients, the general community, and providers can have share information, hope messages, and ask questions in Spanish.”

Feeling “Helpless”

A central part of caring for Latino patients during the COVID-19 crisis has been referring them to outside agencies and social services, psychiatrists say. But finding the right resources amid a pandemic and ensuring that patients connect with the correct aid has been an uphill battle.

“We sometimes feel like our hands are tied,” Dr. Colón-Rivera said. “Sometimes, we need to call a place to bring food. Some of the state agencies and nonprofits don’t have delivery systems, so the patient has to go pick up for food or medication. Some of our patients don’t want to go outside. Some do not have cars.”

As a clinician, it can be easy to feel helpless when trying to navigate new challenges posed by the pandemic in addition to other longstanding barriers, Dr. Posada said.

“Already, mental health disorders are so influenced by social situations like poverty, job insecurity, or family issues, and now it just seems those obstacles are even more insurmountable,” she said. ’At the end of the day, I can feel like: ‘Did I make a difference?’ That’s a big struggle.”

Dr. Montano’s team, which includes psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, have come to rely on virtual debriefings to vent, express frustrations, and support one another, she said. She also recently joined a virtual mind-body skills group as a participant.

“I recognize the importance of getting additional support and ways to alleviate burnout,” she said. “We need to take care of ourselves or we won’t be able to help others.”

Focusing on resilience during the current crisis can be beneficial for both patients and providers in coping and drawing strength, Dr. Posada said.

“When it comes to fostering resilience during times of hardship, I think it’s most helpful to reflect on what skills or attributes have helped during past crises and apply those now – whether it’s turning to comfort from close relationships, looking to religion and spirituality, practicing self-care like rest or exercise, or really tapping into one’s purpose and reason for practicing psychiatry and being a physician,” she said. “The same advice goes for clinicians: We’ve all been through hard times in the past, it’s part of the human condition and we’ve also witnessed a lot of suffering in our patients, so now is the time to practice those skills that have gotten us through hard times in the past.”

Learning Lessons From COVID-19

Despite the challenges with moving to telehealth, Dr. Fortuna said the tool has proved beneficial overall for mental health care. For Dr. Fortuna’s team for example, telehealth by phone has decreased the no-show rate, compared with clinic visits, and improved care access.

“We need to figure out how to maintain that,” she said. “If we can build ways for equity and access to Internet, especially equipment, I think that’s going to help.”

In addition, more data are needed about the ways in which COVID-19 is affecting Latino patients, Dr. Colón-Rivera said. Mortality statistics have been published, but information is needed about the rates of infection and manifestation of illness.

Most importantly, the COVID-19 crisis has emphasized the critical need to address and improve the underlying inequity issues among Latino patients, psychiatrists say.

“We really need to think about how there can be partnerships, in terms of community-based Latino business and leaders, multisector resources, trying to think about how we can improve conditions both work and safety for Latinos,” Dr. Fortuna said. “How can schools get support in integrating mental health and support for families, especially now after COVID-19? And really looking at some of these underlying inequities that are the underpinnings of why people were at risk for the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Memes, flip phones: North Philly tries new tools in fight against coronavirus

April 13, 2020

Memes, flip phones: North Philly tries new tools in fight against coronavirus

A woman wearing a surgical mask makes her way past a mural on the west side of the Save-A-Lot store at 22nd and Lehigh. (Michael Bryant/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
A woman wearing a surgical mask makes her way past a mural on the west side of the Save-A-Lot store at 22nd and Lehigh. (Michael Bryant/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

 

First, preschool director Michele Ayala and her teachers delivered tablet computers with six months of free internet access to the homes of the 133 preschoolers who attend Trinidad Head Start in Fairhill.

Then Ayala set up an app to send videos to the kids and communicate with parents. When that was a big hit, she launched multiple daily Zoom lessons for her “babies” so they wouldn’t lose any of the learning they’d been absorbing since September.

“We get videos and messages and pictures from our kiddos saying how much they miss us and are sad and they want to go back to school,” said Ayala, whose center is one of four operated by the community development organization Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha.

“We write them back, ‘This is just temporary. It’s for us to be safe. This is what is needed right now so when everything is normal, everything is safe for you to go back to school. We’ve got to practice being safe. We’ve got to make the right choices,’” Ayala said.

Ayala and her staff aren’t alone in dedicating long hours and trying new methods to help the city and its vulnerable residents weather the coronavirus lockdown.

Teachers, health care workers, elected officials, grocery store operators, delivery drivers, community organizers and many volunteers have worked overtime for weeks to encourage everyone to comply with Mayor Jim Kenney’s stay-at-home order — and make it feasible for them to do so.

Figures released by the city underline the importance of staying at home, especially in areas like Trinidad’s Fairhill community, where higher rates of chronic health problems, layered with deep social inequities, present the perfect storm for a pandemic.

While the scarcity of testing masks the true number of infected people, a city map counting positive tests for coronavirus in each ZIP code shows a high rate in the school’s 19133 district. Nearly 37% of the 247 people tested in the zip tested positive for COVID-19 infection as of April 9.

Measured by income, the North Philadelphia neighborhood ranks as the city’s poorest, with many residents who do not have access to health care or stable housing, other factors that increase vulnerability to the disease. About half the population is Latinx and a large number do not speak English as a first language.

The virus may be spreading more in those areas because the residents can’t afford to stay at home from work or haven’t absorbed the message about sheltering in place, because of language barriers or because they don’t know anyone who has gotten sick and have not internalized the risks, public health experts say.

“I’m very, very frustrated,” Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez said.

The councilmember said she heard from doctors at Temple University Hospital that they were seeing a high number of positive tests among Latinx residents, even as her constituents were reporting egregious cases of people gathering outdoors in large groups.

On the last Thursday of March, mild weather drew dozens of people to Waterloo Playground in the West Kensington-Fairhill area, Quiñones-Sánchez said. “They cut one of the gates and there were like 50 kids playing in there, kids and adults. The neighbors were all sending me clips from their cameras, texting me, inboxing me.”

People broke the fence at Waterloo Playground on North Howard Street after the city closed recreation facilities to promote social distancing. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The councilmember said she has been inundated with messages on every imaginable app and social media platform since the coronavirus crisis reached Philadelphia. Many of the calls and messages come from Kensington, where drug users and dealers still cluster on street corners, ignoring the police who periodically drive by with bullhorns, telling them to disperse.

“The residents who live there are like, ‘I can’t go outside. All these people can be contaminated.’ What’s already a bad situation becomes untenable,” Quiñones-Sánchez said. “You can imagine the frustrated calls that I’ve gotten.”

 

The need to comply with the city’s orders is particularly urgent in areas where widespread chronic health problems make residents more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 symptoms. In Hunting Park-Fairhill, 23% of residents are in poor physical health compared to 14% citywide, according to a 2019 report by the city’s Department of Public Health.

Nearby Upper Kensington had the bottom ranking for health outcomes in the report, with similar figures to Fairhill for several health conditions.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley has said the city is not using the ZIP code data to target public health outreach since the virus is present in all areas and services are being delivered citywide.

“This virus does not discriminate,” Farley said during a recent news conference. “The virus is in every neighborhood. It’s in every population. Everyone needs to take our recommendations seriously to avoid getting the infection or passing on the infection.”

But in recent days the city has released data showing that African Americans are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Thirty-eight percent of coronavirus deaths in the city were people who identified as African American while 24% percent were white. The city does not know the racial identity of 36%.

About 44% of the city’s population is Black and 34% non-Hispanic white.

Councilmember Cindy Bass, whose district encompasses majority-Black areas with high rates of people testing positive, described the situation as the tragic outgrowth of longstanding inequalities.

She said poverty and a lack of access to health care, a feeling of distance from the pandemic and longstanding cultural practices may be leading people to ignore the stay-at-home order and risk infection.

“In the African American community we have been known to go to work when we’re sick, we’ve been known to go to work when there’s a tragedy. Like, ‘I don’t have time to worry about coronavirus. I’ve got to worry about keeping the lights on. I’ve got to worry about keeping a roof over my head,’” Bass said. “Coronavirus seems far away, very distant, like, ‘I’ll worry about that when it gets here.’ And we just can’t do that.”

She wondered why the ZIP code data wasn’t playing a bigger role in shaping the city’s strategy for containing the pandemic.

“Why wouldn’t we target an area that has a lot of people who are being affected at a higher rate than other areas throughout the city?” Bass said. “What’s the use of data if you’re not using it to make decisions and to move resources?”

Tailoring the message

One strategy to encourage people to stay at home and practice social distancing is to have charismatic, beloved public figures put out the message in a way that resonates with residents, said Carolyn Cannuscio, a social epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania. She cited the example of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who made a funny video of herself doing various activities at home and internet memes showing her looming over the city, blocking entrances to parks and telling people to stay home.

Mayor Lightfoot #StayHomeSaveLives

@chicagosmayor

Just a friendly reminder from your Auntie to stay home.

View image on Twitter

That’s the kind of creative approach City Council could take using a $400,000 appropriation for social distancing messaging approved last week as part of an $85.4 million emergency spending bill.

Quiñones-Sánchez and others said messages need to be expressed in everyday terms that people understand, rather than vague, technical terms like “flattening the curve.”

The councilmember said she envisions robocalls targeted to senior citizens or other vulnerable residents and printed materials like postcard mailers in multiple languages. Others at City Hall have begun experimenting with memes.

On a conference call organized by Temple University’s Center for Urban Bioethics, an African American community leader from Nicetown urged officials to tailor their messaging to young people, Quiñones-Sánchez said.

“She was like, ‘With all due respect, when you say social distancing, I’m not sure my community gets this. We need to talk about physically staying away from each other.’ Social distancing may be a little too fancy and not getting to the point with some folks,” the councilmember said.

Above and beyond the messaging challenges, there are cognitive biases to battle in all parts of the city.

Social scientists call one type of misperception of risk the “availability heuristic,” Cannuscio said.“If people don’t have an example from their own lives that’s accessible to them of, for example, someone who’s sick with COVID-19, it feels like such an abstract and remote threat that it’s hard to activate the protective mechanisms that would really get people to engage in social distancing,” she said.

Another phenomenon at work is “optimism bias,” where people underestimate risk or think they’ll fare better in a difficult situation than others, Cannuscio said. People are also bad at estimating physical distances, and may think they’re six feet apart when they’re actually closer, she said.

Cannuscio said she’s looked out the windows of her home next to Taney Park, on the east bank of the Schuylkill River, and been upset to see her neighbors and others picnicking despite the city’s social distancing order. It’s vital to remind everyone about the importance of staying at home. But at the same time, she said, there’s also a place for compassion for people fulfilling an “intense need to connect” during an extremely stressful time.

“We’re asking people to change so many behaviors in such a short period of time,” she said.

Cannuscio said it’s important to engineer environments in ways that establish clear social norms and make it easier for people to comply. At her local farmer’s market, Cannuscio annoyed a neighbor by suggesting they stagger their visits into a vendor’s crowded tent, but by the following week the market had set up a handwashing station and drawn lines on the ground six feet apart to encourage social distancing without conflict, she said.

Likewise, people need to have the ability to follow the rules, said Dr. Kathleen Reeves, the director of Temple’s Center for Urban Bioethics.

Children need educational opportunities or other activities they can do at home, like those being provided by Ayala and her staff at Trinidad preschool. Elderly people may need flip phones to maintain social contacts if they don’t know how to use computers, and many people need to get nutrition without going out, Reeves said.

After participants on the center’s conference call expressed concerns about infection rates among the Latinx community, the group arranged to print 10,000 flyers about social distancing in Spanish and English. Cousins Supermarket inserted the flyers into customers’ grocery bags and Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha posted them in the windows of corner stores.

Some North Philadelphia communities are understandably wary about public health information they hear. They are more likely to trust information received through community partners who they know well, such as APM, Nicetown CDC and local churches, Reeves said.

Reeves said the center is coordinating with community organizations to deliver 300 bags of groceries weekly, especially to households with senior citizens and children. Temple is funding the deliveries with help from donors, she said. Separately, Cousins Supermarket donated and delivered groceries to 60 seniors in coordination with APM.

“If you have folks who are food-insecure, and you’re telling everyone to stay home, but they have no food, well, that’s not a reasonable thing to ask,” Reeves said. “Trying to help people have the tools they need to enact what we’re asking them to do is also very important.”

Philadelphia Foundation PHL COVID-19 Fund Press Release

April 10, 2020

PHL COVID-19 FUND RESPONDS TO URGENT COMMUNITY NEEDS, MORE THAN $12 MILLION PLEDGED TO DATE

PHILADELPHIA – The PHL COVID-19 Fund today announced distribution of funds totaling more than $2 million in its first round of grants to 44 non-profit organizations serving on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis. With more than $12 million pledged to date, the Fund is a collaboration established between the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Foundation and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) to aid nonprofits working to respond to the impact the pandemic is having throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region. Grants will be made weekly to community-based organizations that support residents in three primary capacities: food and basic needs, protection of vulnerable groups, and medical care and information.

The complete list of grantees can be found below and is also available at

PHILADELPHIA – The PHL COVID-19 Fund today announced distribution of funds totaling more than $2 million in its first round of grants to 44 non-profit organizations serving on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis. With more than $12 million pledged to date, the Fund is a collaboration established between the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Foundation and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) to aid nonprofits working to respond to the impact the pandemic is having throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region. Grants will be made weekly to community-based organizations that support residents in three primary capacities: food and basic needs, protection of vulnerable groups, and medical care and information.

The complete list of grantees can be found below and is also available at www.PHLCOVID19Fund.org. For more information and updates, follow the fund on Twitter at twitter.com/phlcovid19fund.

The PHL COVID-19 Fund stresses that this is the first round of grants, and, due to the volume of requests, applications will be considered and announced on a rolling basis.  The application deadline for this round is midnight on Friday, April 10. To be clear, if a nonprofit is not listed here, it does not mean its application is denied.  Applicants should continue to check the PHL COVID-19 website for regular updates.

“The purpose of the PHL COVID-19 Fund is to rapidly deploy solutions and resources to help our community navigate the near-term impact of COVID-19,” said Pedro Ramos, President & CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation. “We want to ensure that critical resources remain available and readily accessible for those in our community who have the greatest needs and are most disproportionately affected. The grants named today provide much needed financial support for organizations that mobilized immediately. In the weeks ahead, hardships throughout the community will expand and we plan to respond in real time to as many organizations as possible that are answering these unprecedented challenges. Right now, grant requests exceed the total Fund and we are continuing to seek support from donors throughout the region.”

Children and Adult Disability & Educational Services (CADES)Cathedral Kitchen, MANNA Puentes de Salud, and Why Not Prosper are among the nonprofits that will receive funding this week from the PHL COVID-19 Fund. The first round of grantees totals 44 nonprofits, serving a diverse range of residents across 10 different counties in southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.

 

“Whether it’s nonprofits or the individuals they serve, COVID-19 is placing strain on limited resources and forcing organizations to do more with less,” said Bill Golderer, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. “PHL COVID-19 Fund grants aim to provide vital dollars and resources to the nonprofits on the frontlines that need the most support. This first round of funding helps our nonprofit partners fill immediate gaps facing our communities – like ensuring access to food and other basic needs and supporting increased healthcare demands – that are so critical to the overall wellbeing of our region.”

 

The fund prioritizes supporting people who were affected first and hardest by the coronavirus crisis, such as seniors, people experiencing homelessness, those with disabilities, low-income residents without health insurance, people with substance abuse disorder and victims of abuse.

The focus for the initial round of funding was deeply informed by the outreach efforts conducted by Philadelphia Foundation and UWGPSNJ and in close collaboration with PHL COVID-19 Fund Civic Leadership Council.  The fund currently totals more than $12 million in pledges and contributions, and it is supported by a coalition of more than 2,000 online donors alongside partners from philanthropy, business and government.

“In these difficult times, we must all have hope for the health and recovery of our region as well as deep generosity toward our neighbors,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “Today’s announcement supporting our most vulnerable in the region demonstrates not only the deep need that is all around us, but also the compassion and courage of our nonprofits to continue to show up and step up in an unprecedented crisis.  Thank you to all who have donated. Your generosity is well served today and in the coming months.”

Nonprofits can still submit a request for funding via the website: www.PHLCOVID19Fund.org. 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 PHL COVID-19 Fund via www.PHLCOVID19Fund.org.

PHL COVID-19 FUND GRANTEES: APRIL 8, 2020

Grants will be made to community-based organizations that support residents in the following vital areas: food and basic needs, protection of vulnerable groups, and medical care and information.

 

Food & Basic Needs: Social distancing protects people’s health, but also severs ties to critical resources. Grants in this category reach the region’s most vulnerable residents with food, supplies and services.

 

Protection of Vulnerable Groups: More than ever, residents of the region who live in poverty rely on nonprofit organizations for safety and wellbeing. Grants in this category help protect the region’s most vulnerable groups, including seniors, people experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, people with substance use disorder, and victims of abuse.

 

Medical Care & Information: There is an amplified demand for health services and information, particularly among residents who have increased health risks and those without health insurance.

 

Organizations that received funding include:

Advocates for Homeless & Those in Need $20,000
Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM)  $100,000
Broad Street Ministry $50,000
BSM/Prevention Point/Project HOME $100,000
Bucks County Housing Group $30,000
CADES $50,000
Cathedral Soup Kitchen, Inc. $50,000
Catholic Housing and Community Services $40,000
Catholic Social Services $25,000
Chosen 300 Ministries, Inc. $50,000
Community FoodBank of New Jersey $200,000
Community Volunteers in Medicine $50,000
Hedwig House, Inc. $10,000
Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger $65,000
ICNA Relief SHAMS Clinic $3,000
Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia $50,000
Lutheran Settlement House $50,000
Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA) $200,000
Mighty Writers $50,000
Multicultural Community Family Services, Inc. $48,000
National Nurse-Led Care Consortium $15,000
Neighborhood Center in Camden $25,000
Pathways to Housing PA $25,000
Patrician Society of Central Norristown $10,000
Penn Foundation, Inc. $10,000
Philabundance $200,000
Philadelphia FIGHT $50,000
Phoenixville Area Senior Center $40,000
Prevention Point Philadelphia $50,000
Project H.O.P.E. $37,000
Puentes de Salud $48,000
Saint John’s Hospice $50,000
Saint Miriam Parish & Friary $10,000
Share Food Program $100,000
Silver Springs – Martin Luther School  $50,000
St. Ignatius Nursing & Rehab Center $50,000
The Greater Philadelphia Diaper Bank $25,000
The Sunday Love Project $5,000
Valley Youth House Committee, Inc. $25,000
Vetri Community Partnership $45,000
Weavers Way Community Programs $48,000
Why Not Prosper, Inc. $48,000
Women’s Resource Center of the Delaware Valley $35,000
Yardley Makefield Consolidated Emergency Unit $50,000

 

GRANTEE QUOTES:

Julie Alleman, Chief Executive Officer of CADES

“The team at CADES sees COVID-19 for what it is, a virus that puts direct support professionals in a perilous position and threatens the very life of every individual they serve.  So our team has doubled-down on the talents that make them great: the human connection, creativity and unwavering motivation to face adversity with an ‘anything is possible’ attitude that is the life-force of CADES.”

 

Carrie Kitchen-Santiago, Executive Director of Cathedral Kitchen

“The funds will help sustain our food outreach to individuals and families who are struggling with poverty and food insecurity in Camden and the surrounding communities. Due to the pandemic, the Kitchen has had to suspend meals and social services in our dining room and instead serve to-go meals from our front doors. Because of this, suspension of our volunteer program, and the temporary closing of our CK Cafe and catering – all due to the need for social distancing – we have lost revenue as well as incurred additional costs. For example, we have had to hire additional staff and purchase to-go containers, bottled water and hand wipes for each of the 300 or more guests we serve per day, six days per week. The grant will help cover these unexpected costs, enabling us to continue to serve an average of 1,700 meals per week to adults, seniors and children.”

 

Sue Daugherty, Chief Executive Officer of MANNA

“MANNA’s clients are some of the city’s most vulnerable – the sickest of the sick, and more vulnerable than ever. This incredibly generous donation from the PHL COVID-19 Fund will help us meet the rapid increase in demand for our services. We are eternally grateful for the generous support.”

 

Steven Larson, MD, Executive Director of Puentes de Salud

“This pandemic is particularly devastating to the vibrant Latinx immigrant population we serve as they face additional challenges in accessing critical resources. Funding will be imperative for our clinical staff conducting telemedicine and crucial home visits, and for emergency food relief efforts as the majority of families we surveyed were assessed at a high food insecurity rating, and over half of families have lost all sources of income. As community need will be substantial and ongoing, our work as healthcare providers, community advocates, and educators will be critical in ameliorating the effects of this crisis.”

 

Rev. Michelle Simmons, Founder of Why Not Prosper

“It is difficult to articulate how much I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Words hardly seem

adequate to express our joy for the support and emergency funding to help returning women

transition into the community.” –

 

About Philadelphia Foundation
Founded in 1918, Philadelphia Foundation strengthens the economic, social and civic vitality of Greater Philadelphia. Philadelphia Foundation grows effective philanthropic investment, connects individuals and institutions across sectors and geography, and advances civic initiatives through partnerships and collaboration. A publicly supported foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation manages more than 1,000 charitable funds established by its donors and makes over 1,000 grants and scholarship awards each year. To learn more, visit philafound.org.

 

About United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, serving communities in Pennsylvania’s Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and New Jersey’s Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May and Cumberland counties, is part of a national network of more than 1,300 locally governed organizations that work to create lasting positive changes in communities and in people’s lives. United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. In Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, United Way fights for youth success and family stability because we LIVE UNITED against intergenerational poverty. For more information about United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey visit www.UnitedForImpact.org.

 

###

 

. For more information and updates, follow the fund on Twitter at twitter.com/phlcovid19fund.

The PHL COVID-19 Fund stresses that this is the first round of grants, and, due to the volume of requests, applications will be considered and announced on a rolling basis.  The application deadline for this round is midnight on Friday, April 10. To be clear, if a nonprofit is not listed here, it does not mean its application is denied.  Applicants should continue to check the PHL COVID-19 website for regular updates.

“The purpose of the PHL COVID-19 Fund is to rapidly deploy solutions and resources to help our community navigate the near-term impact of COVID-19,” said Pedro Ramos, President & CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation. “We want to ensure that critical resources remain available and readily accessible for those in our community who have the greatest needs and are most disproportionately affected. The grants named today provide much needed financial support for organizations that mobilized immediately. In the weeks ahead, hardships throughout the community will expand and we plan to respond in real time to as many organizations as possible that are answering these unprecedented challenges. Right now, grant requests exceed the total Fund and we are continuing to seek support from donors throughout the region.”

Children and Adult Disability & Educational Services (CADES)Cathedral Kitchen, MANNA Puentes de Salud, and Why Not Prosper are among the nonprofits that will receive funding this week from the PHL COVID-19 Fund. The first round of grantees totals 44 nonprofits, serving a diverse range of residents across 10 different counties in southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.

“Whether it’s nonprofits or the individuals they serve, COVID-19 is placing strain on limited resources and forcing organizations to do more with less,” said Bill Golderer, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. “PHL COVID-19 Fund grants aim to provide vital dollars and resources to the nonprofits on the frontlines that need the most support. This first round of funding helps our nonprofit partners fill immediate gaps facing our communities – like ensuring access to food and other basic needs and supporting increased healthcare demands – that are so critical to the overall wellbeing of our region.”

The fund prioritizes supporting people who were affected first and hardest by the coronavirus crisis, such as seniors, people experiencing homelessness, those with disabilities, low-income residents without health insurance, people with substance abuse disorder and victims of abuse.

The focus for the initial round of funding was deeply informed by the outreach efforts conducted by Philadelphia Foundation and UWGPSNJ and in close collaboration with PHL COVID-19 Fund Civic Leadership Council.  The fund currently totals more than $12 million in pledges and contributions, and it is supported by a coalition of more than 2,000 online donors alongside partners from philanthropy, business and government.

“In these difficult times, we must all have hope for the health and recovery of our region as well as deep generosity toward our neighbors,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “Today’s announcement supporting our most vulnerable in the region demonstrates not only the deep need that is all around us, but also the compassion and courage of our nonprofits to continue to show up and step up in an unprecedented crisis.  Thank you to all who have donated. Your generosity is well served today and in the coming months.”

Nonprofits can still submit a request for funding via the website: www.PHLCOVID19Fund.org. 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 PHL COVID-19 Fund via www.PHLCOVID19Fund.org.

PHL COVID-19 FUND GRANTEES: APRIL 8, 2020

Grants will be made to community-based organizations that support residents in the following vital areas: food and basic needs, protection of vulnerable groups, and medical care and information.

Food & Basic Needs: Social distancing protects people’s health, but also severs ties to critical resources. Grants in this category reach the region’s most vulnerable residents with food, supplies and services.

Protection of Vulnerable Groups: More than ever, residents of the region who live in poverty rely on nonprofit organizations for safety and wellbeing. Grants in this category help protect the region’s most vulnerable groups, including seniors, people experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, people with substance use disorder, and victims of abuse.

Medical Care & Information: There is an amplified demand for health services and information, particularly among residents who have increased health risks and those without health insurance.

 

Organizations that received funding include:

Advocates for Homeless & Those in Need: $20,000

Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM): $100,000

Broad Street Ministry: $50,000

BSM/Prevention Point/Project HOME: $100,000

Bucks County Housing Group: $30,000

CADES: $50,000

Cathedral Soup Kitchen, Inc.: $50,000

Catholic Housing and Community Services: $40,000

Catholic Social Services: $25,000

Chosen 300 Ministries, Inc.:  $50,000

Community FoodBank of New Jersey:  $200,000

Community Volunteers in Medicine: $50,000

Hedwig House, Inc.: $10,000

Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger: $65,000

ICNA Relief SHAMS Clinic: $3,000

Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia: $50,000

Lutheran Settlement House: $50,000

Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA): $200,000

Mighty Writers: $50,000

Multicultural Community Family Services, Inc.: $48,000

National Nurse-Led Care Consortium: $15,000

Neighborhood Center in Camden: $25,000

Pathways to Housing PA: $25,000

Patrician Society of Central Norristown: $10,000

Penn Foundation, Inc.: $10,000

Philabundance: $200,000

Philadelphia FIGHT: $50,000

Phoenixville Area Senior Center: $40,000

Prevention Point Philadelphia: $50,000

Project H.O.P.E.: $37,000

Puentes de Salud: $48,000

Saint John’s Hospice: $50,000

Saint Miriam Parish & Friary: $10,000

Share Food Program: $100,000

Silver Springs – Martin Luther School: $50,000

St. Ignatius Nursing & Rehab Center: $50,000

The Greater Philadelphia Diaper Bank: $25,000

The Sunday Love Project: $5,000

Valley Youth House Committee, Inc.:  $25,000

Vetri Community Partnership:  $45,000

Weavers Way Community Programs: $48,000

Why Not Prosper, Inc.:  $48,000

Women’s Resource Center of the Delaware Valley: $35,000

Yardley Makefield Consolidated Emergency Unit: $50,000

 

GRANTEE QUOTES:

Julie Alleman, Chief Executive Officer of CADES

“The team at CADES sees COVID-19 for what it is, a virus that puts direct support professionals in a perilous position and threatens the very life of every individual they serve.  So our team has doubled-down on the talents that make them great: the human connection, creativity and unwavering motivation to face adversity with an ‘anything is possible’ attitude that is the life-force of CADES.”

Carrie Kitchen-Santiago, Executive Director of Cathedral Kitchen

“The funds will help sustain our food outreach to individuals and families who are struggling with poverty and food insecurity in Camden and the surrounding communities. Due to the pandemic, the Kitchen has had to suspend meals and social services in our dining room and instead serve to-go meals from our front doors. Because of this, suspension of our volunteer program, and the temporary closing of our CK Cafe and catering – all due to the need for social distancing – we have lost revenue as well as incurred additional costs. For example, we have had to hire additional staff and purchase to-go containers, bottled water and hand wipes for each of the 300 or more guests we serve per day, six days per week. The grant will help cover these unexpected costs, enabling us to continue to serve an average of 1,700 meals per week to adults, seniors and children.”

Sue Daugherty, Chief Executive Officer of MANNA

“MANNA’s clients are some of the city’s most vulnerable – the sickest of the sick, and more vulnerable than ever. This incredibly generous donation from the PHL COVID-19 Fund will help us meet the rapid increase in demand for our services. We are eternally grateful for the generous support.”

Steven Larson, MD, Executive Director of Puentes de Salud

“This pandemic is particularly devastating to the vibrant Latinx immigrant population we serve as they face additional challenges in accessing critical resources. Funding will be imperative for our clinical staff conducting telemedicine and crucial home visits, and for emergency food relief efforts as the majority of families we surveyed were assessed at a high food insecurity rating, and over half of families have lost all sources of income. As community need will be substantial and ongoing, our work as healthcare providers, community advocates, and educators will be critical in ameliorating the effects of this crisis.”

Rev. Michelle Simmons, Founder of Why Not Prosper

“It is difficult to articulate how much I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Words hardly seem adequate to express our joy for the support and emergency funding to help returning women transition into the community.” –

 

About Philadelphia Foundation
Founded in 1918, Philadelphia Foundation strengthens the economic, social and civic vitality of Greater Philadelphia. Philadelphia Foundation grows effective philanthropic investment, connects individuals and institutions across sectors and geography, and advances civic initiatives through partnerships and collaboration. A publicly supported foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation manages more than 1,000 charitable funds established by its donors and makes over 1,000 grants and scholarship awards each year. To learn more, visit philafound.org.

About United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, serving communities in Pennsylvania’s Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and New Jersey’s Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May and Cumberland counties, is part of a national network of more than 1,300 locally governed organizations that work to create lasting positive changes in communities and in people’s lives. United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. In Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, United Way fights for youth success and family stability because we LIVE UNITED against intergenerational poverty. For more information about United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey visit www.UnitedForImpact.org.

###

APM Receives $100,000 from PHL COVID-19 Fund

April 10, 2020

PHL COVID-19 Fund earmarks more than $2 million in first round of grants to nonprofits

PHL COVID-19 Fund earmarks more than $2 million in first round of grants to nonprofits

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The PHL COVID-19 Fund on Wednesday announced it has awarded grants totaling more than $2 million to 44 nonprofits in the Philadelphia region.

Formed on March 19, the fund has received more than $12 million in pledges and gifts from regional businesses, foundations, and more than 2,000 individual online donors. The fund is a collaboration established among the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Foundation, and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey to help nonprofits working to respond to the impact the pandemic is having throughout the area.

The fund is being managed by a cross-functional team of leaders from both the Philadelphia Foundation and United Way.

“The purpose of the PHL COVID-19 Fund is to rapidly deploy solutions and resources to help our community navigate the near-term impact of COVID-19,” Pedro Ramos, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation, said in a statement. “We want to ensure that critical resources remain available and readily accessible for those in our community who have the greatest needs and are most disproportionately affected.

“The grants named today provide much-needed financial support for organizations that mobilized immediately. In the weeks ahead, hardships throughout the community will expand, and we plan to respond in real time to as many organizations as possible that are answering these unprecedented challenges. Right now, grant requests exceed the total Fund and we are continuing to seek support from donors throughout the region.”

“Whether it’s nonprofits or the individuals they serve, COVID-19 is placing strain on limited resources and forcing organizations to do more with less,” said Bill Golderer, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. “PHL COVID-19 Fund grants aim to provide vital dollars and resources to the nonprofits on the front lines that need the most support. This first round of funding helps fill immediate gaps facing our communities” — like ensuring access to food and other basic needs and supporting increased health-care demands — “that are so critical to the overall well-being of our region.”

Grants will be made weekly to community-based organizations that support residents in three primary capacities: food and basic needs, protection of vulnerable groups, and medical care and information.

The following organizations have received the initial funding:

Advocates for Homeless & Those in Need, $20,000; Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, $100,000; Broad Street Ministry, $50,000; BSM/Prevention Point/Project HOME, $100,000; Bucks County Housing Group, $30,000; CADES, $50,000; Cathedral Soup Kitchen Inc., $50,000; Catholic Housing and Community Services, $40,000; Catholic Social Services, $25,000; Chosen 300 Ministries Inc., $50,000; Community FoodBank of New Jersey, $200,000; Community Volunteers in Medicine, $50,000; Hedwig House Inc., $10,000.

Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, $65,000; ICNA Relief SHAMS Clinic, $3,000; Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia, $50,000; Lutheran Settlement House, $50,000; Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA), $200,000; Mighty Writers, $50,000; Multicultural Community Family Services Inc., $48,000; National Nurse-Led Care Consortium, $15,000; and Neighborhood Center in Camden, $25,000;

Pathways to Housing PA, $25,000; Patrician Society of Central Norristown, $10,000; Penn Foundation Inc., $10,000; Philabundance, $200,000; Philadelphia FIGHT, $50,000; Phoenixville Area Senior Center, $40,000; Prevention Point Philadelphia, $50,000; Project H.O.P.E., $37,000; Puentes de Salud, $48,000; Saint John’s Hospice, $50,000; Saint Miriam Parish & Friary, $10,000; Share Food Program, $100,000; Silver Springs – Martin Luther School, $50,000; St. Ignatius Nursing & Rehab Center, $50,000.

The Greater Philadelphia Diaper Bank, $25,000; The Sunday Love Project, $5,000; Valley Youth House Committee Inc., $25,000; Vetri Community Partnership, $45,000; Weavers Way Community Programs, $48,000; Why Not Prosper Inc.,, $48,000; Women’s Resource Center of the Delaware Valley, $35,000; Yardley Makefield Consolidated Emergency Unit, $50,000.

 

The Inquirer is owned by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, which operates under the auspices of Philadelphia Foundation. For more information on how to donate to the PHL COVID-19 Fund, visit phlcovid19fund.org.

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