David was experiencing shortness of breath.

As an undocumented American, he was afraid to leave for the hospital and afraid to leave his family alone—so he called the Latino Community Fund of Georgia.

He was desperate, and he thought this could be one of the last phone calls he ever made. He needed it to count.

His eight family members, all undocumented, were living in an apartment together. David wanted to make sure his family was supported and taken care of in case he died.

A representative with the Latino Community Fund reached out to the Grady Health System for a health professional who specializes in assisting undocumented clients like David. Over the course of two conversations, the health professional encouraged David to seek treatment. David survived his bout with the coronavirus, but he had been left with an $81,000 bill.

Now, the Latino Community Fund is working with him to understand and negotiate his expenses and help as he and his family move on from this.

The Latino Community Fund was one of the most recent recipients of grant funds made possible through the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, a joint effort from United Way of Greater Atlanta and Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

On Aug. 11, United Way and Community Foundation announced the seventh round of grants for the COVID-19 response. Latino Community Fund received $200,000 to provide emergency financial assistance for Latinx communities throughout Greater Atlanta.

The seventh round of grants totaled roughly $1.13 million and targeted emergency financial assistance for housing-related costs. The grants went to 10 organizations in response to the region’s needs as a result of COVID-19.

About two weeks into March, major cities across the country began shutting down restaurants, bars, gyms and schools in an attempt to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. As of Aug. 13, COVID-19, which is a respiratory illness with symptoms such as cough, fever and in severe cases, difficulty breathing, has infected more than 5 million people nationwide and killed more than 165,000.

This seventh round of grant funding from United Way and Community Foundation allows organizations to provide emergency financial assistance in response to this crisis for a period of up to four and a half months.

Nine of the grants provided emergency financial assistance and legal support to combat evictions for some of our most vulnerable, low-income populations — undocumented and immigrant families with children, families who may face threats from domestic violence, families who live in extended stay motels and families without formal leases.

David’s employer has not hired him back, and he currently has no job to provide for his family. There are many other stories like his around Greater Atlanta.

To help those in need, donate to the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. If you would like to empower communities of color in Greater Atlanta impacted by decades of systemic barriers and disinvestment, donate to the United for Racial Equity and Healing Fund.

You can also ensure that all children in Greater Atlanta have access to the same resources and opportunities by donating to the Child Well-Being Impact Fund.

By now, you’ve seen pictures, videos and heard stories about some of the scenes facing many of our hospitals around the United States—more recently a scene in Midtown Atlanta that spread around the Internet via social media.

Doctors, nurses and staff file in to work another long day uncertain of what they may encounter. As the shift changes, people look down from the windows of apartment complexes they’ve been confined to for the past three weeks, cheering and applauding these brave people.

These hospital workers put themselves in harm’s way in order to treat patients stricken with a novel, highly-contagious and potentially deadly virus. And they do this because it’s their job. They’ve been deemed “essential.” In the same way, so have many grocery store workers, city employees, law enforcement officers, retail employees, pharmacists—all of them risking exposure to help others feel safe and give them some sense of normalcy.

But take into account for a few minutes who it is they leave behind—who they leave each day they walk out their front door to work. Who takes care of their children?

“It’s been an interesting couple of weeks,” says Amanda Minix, director of development for YMCA of Metro Atlanta. “We made the decision pretty early on in alignment with the school systems to shut down our youth-serving programs, and so the best thing for us to do was to close down our branches completely.”

The reason for closing down these branches, and for forcing much of the city into a semi-quarantined state, is the pandemic outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

About two weeks into March, major cities across the country began shutting down restaurants, bars, gyms and schools in an attempt to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. As of April 14, the infectious disease, COVID-19, which is a respiratory illness with symptoms such as cough, fever and in severe cases, difficulty breathing, has infected more than 579,000 people nationwide and killed more than 22,000.  

Businesses shut down in Atlanta and its surrounding communities, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on March 24 issued a “stay-at-home” order for the next 14 days.

Social distancing guidelines were encouraged at the federal, state and local levels.

But Minix knew there were kids whose families needed help. Many of these children were most vulnerable to food insecurity and relied on meals at school or snacks from the YMCA.

“We were able to leverage partnerships and existing food programs to provide immediate hunger relief,” she says. “We are adding sites and programs almost every few days to make sure needs are fulfilled.”

They are providing 5,500 snacks and dinners each week and more than 20,000 pounds of food, for a total of more than 1,150 bags of food for families in need.

Frontline Workers Childcare Program at Northwest

But there were still gaps in the services. YMCA started to notice the need for additional childcare.

“We’ve been in the childcare space for decades, and we have the ability and staff to take care of these children,” Minix says. “We began thinking of how we can do childcare for the parents who can’t work from home, and we realized it’s not just hospital staff, but police officers and other first responders, the people that work at grocery stores and other essential workers who you may not normally think of being on the frontlines of the crisis.”

In 13 YMCA locations, there were more than 500 registered for childcare over the past two weeks, and it has been growing every single day.

Minix says the classes are divided in a 1-9 ratio of teacher to students, and they started utilizing all parts of the YMCA facility so there wasn’t any overlap, people could keep their distance and not be in a confined, closed space. Each day, someone checks temperatures and symptoms of each person who walks through the door, and the staff deep cleans at all locations multiple times a day.

“We have a vigilance around hand-washing and cleaning to make sure we keep everyone healthy,” Minix says.

But they needed to be able to expand. She says they wanted to offer 2,000 childcare spots across Greater Atlanta.

But they needed help in order to expand.

A recent grant from United Way of Greater Atlanta and Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta will help YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta grow to serve more families.

On March 26, United Way and Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta announced its first round of grants allocated from its Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta was given $500,000 in grant funds.

“We have extended our hours from 5:30 a.m. to 8 pm.,” Minix says. “And starting [March 30] we have two sites that are able to serve infants.” The YMCA originally designed the program to serve children ages 3-12, but are now able to accommodate younger children as well.

Minix says they are just “trying to offer some relief” during this difficult time. All of the children are cared for by early learning professionals and are receiving programs that prepare these kids once they do go back to school.

“The Y has been here for more than 160 years, and we will be here to serve the community every day until this is over,” Minix says. “The needs change and there may be different phases, but we’re going to do everything we can to make sure we’re right there on the front lines, meeting the needs of the community.”

You can provide help today for YMCA of Metro Atlanta and other nonprofits who are filling in gaps in counties across Georgia during this time of crisis. Donate today to the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund and provide resources and supports for these nonprofits across Greater Atlanta.

ATLANTA – March 26, 2020 – Last week, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta announced the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to direct funding to nonprofit organizations and other agencies on the front lines helping our region weather this unprecedented health crisis.

 Today, the organizations reveal the Fund’s first grants, totaling $1.5 million to three organizations for emergency response. Grant recipients are: 

 Atlanta Community Food Bank supports a network of almost 700 nonprofit feeding programs in 29 counties in metro Atlanta and north Georgia, and distributes more than 70 million pounds of food and grocery products each year. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, more than 785,000 people in our community were food insecure, and that number is expected to rise as individuals and families face financial hardships. This grant will support the purchase of food to respond to increased need and reduced donations during the COVID-19 crisis.

Open Hand Atlanta provides prepared meals and nutrition services for homebound seniors and individuals with critical/chronic illnesses, an audience that is particularly susceptible to COVID-19. Eighty percent of the people Open Hand serves are over the age of 47. The grant will assist general capacity and increased production of frozen meals and shelf-stable boxed items, and increased delivery to seniors who previously obtained their meals at senior centers that are now temporarily closed.

YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta provides early education for more than 7,000 children annually at more than 40 centers, partnership sites and afterschool programs across metro Atlanta and northeast Georgia. As most early learning and afterschool programs closed in response to the crisis, the YMCA designed a program to serve children ages 3 to 12 of frontline hospital staff and regional essential employees (law enforcement, fire fighters, grocery store workers, etc.) who must continue working. The grant will support the cost of providing childcare for up to 2,000 children throughout their service area.  

Grants from the Fund focus on immediate and critical needs to support those most vulnerable. United Way and Community Foundation staff, with the guidance of a volunteer steering committee comprised of leading individuals from civic, corporate and nonprofit sectors across the region, are identifying additional organizations currently providing or receiving requests for support. This includes working closely with the State of Georgia’s Coronavirus Task Force Committee for Homeless and Displaced Persons, and other state and federal supports that are to be issued in the coming days and weeks.

Support funds will be released on a rolling basis throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of this crisis, making it possible to deploy resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs in subsequent funding phases. United Way will administer grants from the Fund. Community Foundation and United Way will announce the process for nonprofits to share their information and needs no later than April 6. The Community Foundation will also announce a grant process specifically for arts organizations in that same timeframe.

 “We have streamlined our funding process to ensure that money available through this Fund flows to nonprofit organizations swiftly and efficiently,” said Lita Pardi, interim vice president, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. “We recognize that each day brings new hardships for our first responders and our most vulnerable residents, and we lift up the valiant efforts of organizations that have been nimble to respond to those critical needs.”

The fund was announced March 17 with Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta committing $1 million and United Way of Greater Atlanta contributing $500,000 to seed the fund. In the days following, the Coca-Cola Company, Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation each donated $5 million to the fund in support. Other current funders include the City of Atlanta and Truist Foundation contributing $1 million each, Wells Fargo and Global Payments contributing $250,000 each, The Primerica Foundation contributing $50,000, and $25,000 jointly from 11Alive and the TEGNA Foundation.

“In just one week, we received a groundswell of support from corporations, foundations and individuals across Greater Atlanta,” says United Way of Greater Atlanta President and CEO Milton J. Little, Jr. “Thanks to their immediate and generous response, we are able to infuse substantial funding into those organizations that are on the front lines of meeting the urgent needs of our vulnerable populations.”

 

The Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund bolsters nonprofit organizations supporting:

  •   Families with young children and children on free and reduced lunch
  •   Individuals without health insurance, access to sick days or access to  healthcare
  •   Seniors and older adults
  •   Low-wage workers including hospitality, service industry and gig economy workers

 

Initial priorities will focus on the immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations resulting from closures and support community safety nets such as food insecurity, rent and utility assistance, medical supports and childcare. Additional priorities are the educational and emotional needs of children and youth across our region. Funds will help fill gaps for nonprofits before federal and other funding flows to this sector.

 Our region is likely to experience stresses in many areas: income insecurity, evictions, food insecurity, access to health care, childcare while schools are closed, access to online learning for K-12 students, small business bankruptcies and nonprofit closures. The Community Foundation and United Way continue to monitor impacts to our nonprofit sector as this crisis impacts our region.

Individuals and families impacted and in need of support can contact United Way of Greater Atlanta’s 2-1-1 Contact Center. Due to high call volumes, texting is the quickest way to get in touch with United Way 2-1-1. Text 211od to 898-211 to get a list of resources by zip code. The 2-1-1 database is another quick way to find resources during this time of increased call volume. 2-1-1 is a valuable resource that is available 24-hours and 7 days-a-week.

The need continues to rise as stories accumulate from across our neighborhoods, donate to the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund today. The next round of grants will be announced by Friday, March 27.

 The Community Foundation will continue to update details for donors and nonprofits through its blog and via social media via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

About the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
Since 1951, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has been leading and inspiring philanthropy to increase the vitality of our region and the well-being of all residents. With nearly 70 years serving the 23-county Atlanta region and a robust team of experts, the Community Foundation expands its philanthropic reach and impact by providing quality services to donors and bold, innovative community leadership. The Community Foundation is a top-20 community foundation among 750 nationally, with approximately $1.2 billion in current assets, and is Georgia’s second largest foundation. For more information, visit: cfgreateratlanta.org or connect with the Foundation via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

About United Way of Greater Atlanta
United Way of Greater Atlanta, the largest United Way chapter in the nation, focuses on ensuring that every child in Atlanta has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. The organization invests in more than 200 programs in 13 counties through the Child Well-Being Impact Fund and works to help children succeed in school, improve financial stability of families, provide affordable and accessible healthcare and end homelessness. For more information, visit: unitedwayatlanta.org or Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Media Contacts:
For United Way United Way of Greater Atlanta
Chad Parker, 404.358.5055
cparker@unitedwayatlanta.org