“Myself and my kids are so grateful to you all. You really reached out to us when we needed it the most.” – Emergency Housing Assistance Program funding recipient Jallow Hadijjatou

Like so many City of Atlanta residents, Jallow Hadijjatou lost her job at the start of pandemic. A single mother and im

migrant, the stress of caring for her family without a job quickly set in. According to the US Census Bureau, there are approximately 13.6 million single parents in the U.S., raising 22.4 million children. And eighty percent of those single parents are moms like Jallow.

The strain the pandemic has put on single mothers is heartbreaking. According to the University of Oregon study Home Alone: The Pandemic Is Overloading Single-parent Families, researchers note the impact of COVID-19 is more distressing for single parent families than other types of households.

While unemployed, Jallow, like most parents during the pandemic, became an at-home teacher’s assistant, helping her children navigate remote learning. When school was done for the day, she tried to keep them busy – all while dealing with the worry of affording rent and utilities. As lockdown stretched on, Jallow continued to search high and low for a job, but rent payments were a continuous struggle and were piling up. According to the Federal Reserve of Atlanta’s one-year study of the pandemic, more than 60 thousand evictions were filed. That number has now grown.

After hearing about rental assistance programs, Jallow decided to shift her focus on the short term. Through the Emergency Housing Assistance Program and United Way of Greater Atlanta’s partner, Housing Plus, Jallow connected to a case manager who listened to her experiences and provided personalized care and rental assistance. Jallow and her children were able to stay in their apartment, and focus on school in a stable home environment.

United Way of Greater Atlanta and the City of Atlanta recently announced that the Emergency Housing Assistance Program re-opened October 4th to distribute an additional $12M in Department of Treasury funding received through the United States Treasury. The current Emergency Housing Assistance Program – totaling $15.2M in federal funds – is on track to distribute the entire amount by mid-October. Since August 2020, through both the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) and the US Treasury, the Emergency Rental Assistance program has helped more than 7,800 individuals and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic stay in their homes.

According to the NY Times, about 89 percent of rental assistance funds have not been distributed nationally,” says Milton J. Little, Jr. President and CEO of United Way of Greater Atlanta. “We’re proud to say that we are on track to spend the full amount of previous American Rescue Plan Act dollars. Now, with the additional funding, we hope to help an additional 2,000 families.”

Since August 2020, United Way of Greater Atlanta has partnered with the City of Atlanta, Curry Davis Consulting Group, and agency partners on the Emergency Housing Assistance Program. Having a roof over your head and having a stable place to call home is foundational to United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Child Well-Being mission. Families that have been evicted or face eviction deal with a number of factors including keeping children in school, maintaining stable employment and protecting their health. According to Bloomberg News, “Evictions touch households beyond just those who receive an order to vacate. People who get evicted from their homes tend to double up, moving in with friends or family, or going to shelters. These outcomes make for more crowded households, increasing the points of contact between a home and the outside world, and creating more exposure opportunity for someone who hasn’t gotten the vaccine.” That’s why United Way of Greater Atlanta joined the City of Atlanta to help get federal funding out as quickly as possible to people most in need through the Atlanta COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance Program.

City of Atlanta residential renters who have experienced a loss of income because of COVID-19 will be able to receive assistance with the payment of their past due rent, utility and/or security deposit assistance dating back to March 13, 2020 with an average payment of $3,000 per household. Due to new federal guidelines, mortgage assistance is not available.

Individuals and families impacted and in need of support will have multiple access points to apply for assistance in both English and Spanish. To apply for assistance and view eligibility requirements and FAQs, options include:

  • Access the client application by visiting www.unitedwayatlanta.org or by clicking here.
  • Visit http://211online.unitedwayatlanta.org/
  • Call 2-1-1 to speak with a live 2-1-1 Community Connection Specialist Hours are limited from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Due to high call volumes, the above listed options are preferred.

Previously published on SaportaReport.com.

Markesha moved to Atlanta, escaping a Florida neighborhood that had become violent and unsafe for her two children.

But finding an apartment became a challenge—and it wasn’t because of a previous eviction or lack of income, but for something else beyond her control. The single mom took refuge in a motel.

“I had moved from Florida, got a motel expecting to simply apply for housing here in Atlanta,” Markesha says. “I had lived in Atlanta before, and I was determined to simply start over.”

But that didn’t happen. Markesha says every apartment she applied to denied her.

 “I couldn’t understand it because I don’t have any evictions, felonies or things like that,” she says. “I found out that I had two really high unpaid light bills in my name from two different states. I never lived in those states. Someone used my name.”

The unfortunate event led to what she calls an “11-month battle of homelessness.” She says living in the motel was a “horrible” experience. She had to send her eldest daughter to live with her mother and keep her son with her.

“I couldn’t have my family unit together,” she says. “I was trying to escape my old environment but living in the hotel made it feel like I was back in the same environment. Living in a hotel is no place to raise a child.”

There was no space to move around, no stove—and the environment she was trying to escape by moving to Atlanta had crept its way back into her life. She was paying more than $1,000 monthly for a space that was too small and didn’t allow her to be with her family. She started to think about moving back to Florida.

But then Markesha got a flyer from a friend at the motel about a “Motel-to-Home” program through United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Regional Commission on Homelessness.

The Regional Commission on Homelessness and United Way are working to end homelessness and change lives in Greater Atlanta. Motel-to-Home is a three-step process of outreach, housing and aftercare. Housing location specialists work to identify the barriers each family faces and then match them with affordable housing.

Once a family is able to pay their own rent or mortgage without assistance, the family is eligible for ongoing aftercare services, which include financial literacy training, workshops and incentive-based programs.

“Right before that flyer came into my life, I was just about to pack up and move back to Florida,” Markesha says. “I applied to so many apartments and they all said ‘no.’ I was paying $1,050 for a motel room monthly – no space, no real kitchen, no extra room, and my family was still split. Now, I live in a two-bedroom apartment with a full-size living room, dining room, kitchen, and two bathrooms for $955.

“I can cry right now. You just don’t realize just how much this place means to me.”

Motel-to-Home is modeled after United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Street-to-Home Initiative, which aims to connect families living in motels to their own permanent housing.

Homeless families and individuals will often live in motels when they may be on the brink of homelessness. There are motels in every county that families use as a last resort. Motel-to-Home intervenes to provide families with case management, assistance with deposits and follow-up care to capitalize on their existing strengths and income.

The program helped Markesha get her family back, she says. He daughter was able to return back home.

“That’s the biggest blessing,” she says. “My husband died a few years ago and that’s how I became a single mom. My husband was my best friend.
“So, to go through this struggle and having to split my family was the hardest thing ever. But living here allowed us to reunite.”

Will you unite with us to do more for families in Greater Atlanta—families like Markesha’s? When we unite, we can change lives. Let’s do more, together.

ATLANTA – June 10, 2021 – As our region continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a critical need for investments that broaden access to vaccines for communities that do not have equitable opportunities to receive them. Education to address vaccine hesitancy, especially among immigrant and minority communities, is also a priority to ensure maximum vaccination levels across the metro area.

To make vaccine access more equitable, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta have committed $1.125 million in grants to 23 organizations addressing these challenges. Grants will be administered as the ninth and final round of grants made possible through the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. This round of funding, which is focused on moving our region forward from emergency response to recovery, also includes four grants totaling $550,000 to bolster capacity for nonprofits and nonprofit leaders; 15 grants totaling $1 million to nonprofits focused on comprehensive summer learning opportunities including social emotional supports and to address the digital divide; and 13 grants totaling $650,000 to organizations leading on policy and advocacy, for a total of $3.325 million awarded in this round.

In the initial stages of vaccine roll out in Georgia, as few as 7% of the Latinx population and 16% of the Black population were receiving vaccines compared to 24% in the white population and 33% in the Asian population. In response, the Community Foundation partnered with the Metro Atlanta Chamber to convene leaders from across the region to focus on access to, and education about, the vaccine with a goal of reaching an 80% vaccination rate in the region by July 4. This work informed the latest round of grants to nonprofits that are well positioned to move rapidly and have direct, immediate impact in targeted communities. Grant recipients range from those working broadly across the region to those focusing their efforts on a specific language-speaking population or zip code. All grant recipients are detailed below.

“Since the launch of the COVID-19 Fund in March 2020, its aim was to be nimble and pivot as needed to respond to the most critical need at a given time,” said Frank Fernandez, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “From its initial days funding immediate needs including food access for neighbors in need and childcare for first responders, the Fund’s later rounds focused on changing priorities, including technology for remote learning for students, housing and mental health. This final round of grants focuses on initial steps from response toward recovery and today’s most pressing need, ensuring that our region’s rate of vaccinations improves so that we can truly begin to move forward and return to some sense of normalcy.”

With the COVID-19 grant cycles now complete, moving forward, the Community Foundation and United Way will continue to partner in place-based work to address the needs that COVID-19 exacerbated in our region, especially the racial inequities that emerged in areas ranging from healthcare outcomes to access to essential resources.

“The fact that we pulled together the COVID-19 Fund, secured financial commitments from individuals, corporate partners and private foundations, and made our first grants in a matter of days last March is a testament to the power of partnership,” said Milton Little, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Atlanta. “Now, moving forward, we will work in partnership with our community to develop and deepen place-based strategies that engage local stakeholders, aiming to address the root causes of the challenges that COVID-19 laid bare on our region.”

A grand total of $28.2 million from the COVID-19 Fund has been mobilized to benefit 478 nonprofits in its nine funding cycles. Today’s announced grants, as well as those made in the earlier rounds, are listed on both the Community Foundation’s website and United Way’s website.

Grants for vaccination access and education were prioritized to organizations that are predominantly led by Black and Latinx people as representatives of communities that were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 in our communities. These organizations work across a variety of social and economic issues that are critical to recovery for the region and are explicitly working toward improving the lives of people of color, including immigrant and refugee communities.

 

  1. 100 Black Men of Atlanta: $42,500 for the design, coordination, and execution of vaccination efforts on the West Side/Vine Cities communities within zip code 30318.
  2. Amani Women Center: $28,500 for the design, coordination, and execution of vaccine awareness/education campaigns in African-specific languages.
  3. Black Child Development Institute (BCDI) – Atlanta: $50,000 to expand testing/vaccine access and outreach efforts for faith-based partners within Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties.
  4. Center for Pan-Asian Community Services: $50,000 to expand vaccine accessibility to communities served in DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties.
  5. Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta Inc.: $25,000 to expand COVID-19 testing/vaccination awareness and outreach efforts in metro Atlanta.
  6. CORE: $250,000 to operate COVID-19 mobile vaccination units.
  7. CovidCareGA: $20,000 for COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the metro-Atlanta region.
  8. The Family Health Centers of Georgia: $50,000 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts throughout metro Atlanta.
  9. Feminist Women’s Health Center: $25,000 for COVID-19 testing and vaccines.
  10. Georgia Charitable Care Network: $50,000 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts at charitable clinics in metro Atlanta
  11. Good News Clinics: $50,000 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts in Hall county.
  12. Hispanic Alliance GA: $50,000 for COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts to improve accessibility in Barrow, Forsyth, Gwinnett and Hall counties.
  13. Interfaith Youth Core: $25,000 for COVID-19 vaccination outreach efforts in metro-Atlanta.
  14. Latin American Association: $25,000 for COVID-19 vaccination outreach efforts of the Latinx community in metro-Atlanta.
  15. Latino Community Fund: $100,000 for the design, coordination and support of vaccination efforts within Latinx communities.
  16. Los Niños Primero (Children First): $50,000 for COVID-19 vaccination efforts and outreach in the Latinx community.
  17. The Nett Church: $12,000 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts.
  18. Refugee Women’s Network, Inc.: $28,500 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts in refugee and immigrant communities within Clarkston.
  19. Ser Familia, Inc.: $50,000 for COVID-19 vaccination efforts and outreach in the Latinx community.
  20. Southside Medical Center: $50,000 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts throughout metro Atlanta.
  21. The Twenty Pearls Foundation, Inc.: $33,500 for expanding COVID-19 testing/vaccine access, education and awareness in South Fulton communities.
  22. Unidos Latino Association, Inc.: $35,000 for COVID-19 testing/vaccination efforts and outreach in Newton and Rockdale counties.
  23. VOX ATL (aka VOX Teen Communications): $25,000 for COVID-19 vaccination outreach efforts focused on youth vaccination in the metro-Atlanta region.

Capacity building enables nonprofit leaders and organizations to develop the skills and resources they need to strengthen their work. These capacity building investments were responsive to the current COVID-19 landscape. Grants awarded to build capacity for nonprofits include:

  1. Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement: $150,000 to provide capacity building resources for the development of a coordinated care system.
  2. Center for Civic Innovation: $100,000 for a self-care/mental health fund and accompanying programming to support Women of Color community leaders and entrepreneurs.
  3. Georgia Center for Nonprofits: $125,000 to lead 30 Resiliency to Recovery Strategy and Roadmaps program grantees through GCN’s Resilience to Recovery Cohort, including expanded training and $2,500 stipends per organization.
  4. Latino Community Fund: $175,000 to provide capacity-building resources to Latinx-led and Latinx-serving organizations.

The pandemic has set back learning for students in our region and access to summer learning programs is critical to addressing further learning loss. Grants awarded for education include:

  1. 21st Century Leaders: $45,000 for a summer learning program, which will enhance STEM leadership development skills as well as address digital divide for youth in metro Atlanta.
  2. Agape Youth and Family Center: $100,000 for summer learning programs, including work to close the digital divide, in the city of Atlanta.
  3. Atlanta CARES Mentoring Movement: $75,000 for summer learning opportunities that focus on literacy and STEM while addressing the mental health and well-being challenges related to the COVID-19 disruption of the learning environment that is impacting metro Atlanta students.
  4. Center for Pan-Asian Community Services: $100,000for summer learning programs and technology needs for students.
  5. Community Guilds (STE(A)M Truck): $30,000 for STEAM summer learning programs in Clayton county and the Westside of Atlanta
  6. Community Teen Coalition: $40,000 for a six-week summer program simulating a college-going experience.
  7. Corners Outreach: $50,000 for summer programing serving children and teens at three locations.
  8. Fugees Family: $50,000 for the Georgia Fugees Academy Charter School that provides intensive summer support in DeKalb county.
  9. Inspiredu: $100,000 to address the digital divide for students across five metro districts.
  10. LaAmistad: $100,000 for the summer learning program, including work to close the digital divide, serving the Latinx community in metro Atlanta.
  11. Latin American Association: $100,000 for the Latino Youth Leadership Academy and Summer Academic Enrichment Program.
  12. Los Niños Primeros: $50,000 for a virtual summer learning program with a primary focus on children who are immigrants and/or Hispanic or Latinx focused on academics, language acquisition and the arts.
  13. Odyssey: $40,000 for a summer learning program with a focus on communities south of I-20.
  14. SEM Link: $20,000 for a STEM summer learning program in South Fulton and the City of Atlanta.
  15. Raising Expectations: $100,000 for summer learning programs in the Westside of Atlanta.

 

Now more than ever, supporting a strong civic ecosystem that includes policy and advocacy partners is essential for the recovery of the metro Atlanta region. Grants awarded for public policy and advocacy include:

  1. Asian Americans Advancing Justice: $50,000 to increase equitable access to COVID-related information, targeting AAPI, immigrant and other communities of color.
  2. Equity Foundation of Georgia: $50,000 to continue efforts to engage LGBTQ people within their local communities.
  3. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute: $50,000 to improve communities throughout Georgia through policy efforts.
  4. Georgia Coalition of the People’s Agenda: $50,000 to increase civic engagement around issues like health, economic and education equity and power mapping.
  5. Georgia Muslim Voter Project: $50,000 for policy and advocacy building in Muslim communities.
  6. Georgia Shift: $50,000 to increase access to civic participation through voting access, education and advocacy.
  7. Georgia STAND-UP: $50,000 for civic engagement and mobilization for communities of color.
  8. New Georgia Project: $50,000 for civic engagement and mobilization for communities of color.
  9. Project South: $50,000 for policy and coalition building to improve access to resources for COVID-19 relief.
  10. Solutions Not Punishment : $50,000 for the completion of the data gathering project, “A Safe Atlanta” to recommend and provide alternatives to policing  in the City of Atlanta.
  11. The Arc: $50,000 for the Grassroots Connectors program that builds trust in rural areas of the state where information and resources for communities and people with disabilities is scarce.
  12. Women Engaged: $50,000 to build power and provide leadership development targeted toward Millennial and Gen Z Black women.
  13. Women on the Rise: $50,000 for civic engagement and organizing work targeting Black women, LGBTQ, gender non-conforming and women with disabilities

 

About United Way of Greater Atlanta

United Way of Greater Atlanta, the largest United Way 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 Contact:

Chad Parker, 404.358.5055
cparker@unitedwayatlanta.org

ATLANTA –  November 19, 2020 – The Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, a joint effort from Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta, today announces grants supporting education-focused interventions, food insecurity, housing and mental health services. To date, the Fund has raised more than $25 million through collective resources from public and private donors across the region. Since the Fund was announced in March, the two organizations swiftly optimized open applications as well as online quantitative data facilitation tools to identify the areas of greatest need and the most vulnerable populations to determine where to deliver philanthropic funds.

 

These grants total $6.511 million and will be distributed to 214 organizations in response to the region’s needs as a result of COVID-19. During this round of grants, BIPOC-led (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) organizations were prioritized and received over 50% of funding. A grand total of nearly $25 million from the Fund has been mobilized to benefit 455 nonprofits thus far. A full listing of today’s grants is detailed below. These, as well as those made in the earlier rounds, are listed on both the Community Foundation’s website and United Way’s website.

 

Individuals who wish to contribute to supporting our region’s nonprofits can donate to the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund here. Support funds will be released on a rolling basis throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis.

 

Housing Grants:

In the past seven months, more than 1.4 million Georgians have received unemployment benefits. According to Neighborhood Nexus’ COVID-19 weekly report, there were 21,088 unemployment claims the week of October 18 – a 910% increase from the week of March 8 when the first case of COVID-19 came to Georgia. With loss of employment, questions about how families will maintain housing without employment become a significant concern.

 

Mental Health Services Grants:

In 2020, people have reported an increase in the number of mental health challenges they are facing; the severity is also more intense. Rates of symptoms in the second quarter of 2020 are significantly higher than in previous years: rates of anxiety increased from 8.1% in 2019 to 25.5% in 2020; depression rates went from 6.5% in 2019 to 24.3% in 2020; suicide ideation rates went from 4.3% in 2018 to 10.7% in 2020.

 

Education-focused Interventions Grants:

Nearly 90,000 students are without access to technology in just seven regional school districts (includes both rural and metro districts), representing technology hardware needs of $43.7 million and internet access needs of $10.9 million. Districts/schools have reduced budgets but an increased need for and a shortage of PPE and cleaning supplies. As 96% of schools reopen with some kind of virtual learning options, many working families throughout the region have no choice but to return to work without safe and licensed options for children to safely learn throughout the day.

 

As a result of COVID-19 related challenges, thousands of students may not return to college, which will have a residual impact on Georgia’s economic mobility due to a decrease in our talent pipeline.

 

Food Insecurity Grants:

The current and prospective economic picture with continued unemployment suggests food insecurity will continue to be a significant issue over the coming months. There are substantial racial disparities in food insecurity rates that have been exacerbated by the pandemic: Black households are over two times more likely to be food insecure than white households, while Latinx households food insecurity rates are three times as high as white households. Both of these population groups are also disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Additional disparities in food security can be seen in rural areas, where residents often do not have easy access to local emergency food resources like a food pantry and must travel to neighboring counties to receive assistance.

 

A full listing of grantees for the eighth round of grants is listed below.

  1. 100 Black Men of North Metro Atlanta – $25,000 to support coaches and mentors directly working with male students to support academic gains over the year.
  2. 3D Girls – $17,500 for care coordination to address feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation.
  3. 7 Bridges to Recovery – $25,000 to provide safe in-person learning labs for children during distanced learning with on-site tutors.
  4. Africa’s Children’s Fund – $50,000 for rapid re-housing and utility assistance program provided to families and people in City of Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb, Henry, Clayton and Cobb Counties.
  5. Allen Temple AME Church of Atlanta – $20,000 to provide WiFi Safe Space for children to access virtual learning with safe adult supervision, and providing food during the day to attending students.
  6. Anita Lane Ministries – $20,000 for on-site tutorial lab for 25 students at a time.
  7. Assure Elder Care – $10,000 to support stable housing for seniors in DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties.
  8. Atlanta Educational Telecommunications Collaborative, dba Public Broadcasting Atlanta – $20,000 for tutorial services for Atlanta Public Schools, Cobb and Fulton districts.
  9. Atlanta Habitat For Humanity – $50,000 for mortgage assistance to those with mortgages from Habitat.
  10. Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition – $25,000 to enhance mental health resources and provide training for staff and peer specialists such as mental health first aid.
  11. Atlanta Jobs with Justice – $50,000 to provide emergency assistance to those that have rental arrears as an immediate service but are unable to receive Unemployment Insurance and addressing systemic issues with Unemployment Insurance.
  12. Atlanta Partners for Education – $37,500 to pilot learning hubs with churches and other community partners to provide additional opportunities for students to continue their schooling, while receiving the benefits of a high quality, and in-person education.
  13. Atlanta Victim Assistance – $50,000 to respond to victim’s needs, including healing circles and support groups.
  14. Auditory-Verbal Center – $10,000 to provide digital telehealth services for the hearing impaired.
  15. Berean Outreach Ministry – $33,000 to address food insecurity in the Westside of Atlanta.
  16. BestFit – $75,000 for Tech Essentials Care Packages for homeless or foster care college students.
  17. Bethany Christian Services of Georgia – $25,000 for individual and family counseling that addresses post-traumatic stress and intensive family interventions.
  18. Bethesda Christian Academy – $30,000 to provide a safe and stable learning environment for children whose families must work.
  19. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta – $50,000 for mentoring in metro Atlanta with a focus on both academic and social emotional support
  20. Black Child Development Institute-Atlanta – $45,000 to expand the Strength Within program.
  21. Black Women’s Health Imperative – $50,000 to modify the SIS Circles program to a virtual format that empowers teen girls of color.
  22. BlazeSports America – $20,000 for therapeutic recreation programs for veterans with disabilities and PTSD, as well as transportation, access to healthy foods and peer-to-peer support.
  23. Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier – $39,865 to provide a safe space for students to access virtual learning opportunities, including tutoring in small groups with qualified teachers.
  24. Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta – $100,000 to address the digital divide for students, ongoing technology support and safe care during virtual learning and after school as needed.
  25. Boys & Girls Clubs of North Georgia – $15,000 for after school programming focused on homework help and and tutoring in Pickens County.
  26. Bread of Life Development Ministries – $50,000 to address food insecurity in metro Atlanta.
  27. Bright Futures Atlanta – $30,000 for college preparation and work readiness opportunities for students from 5th to 12th grade on Atlanta’s Westside, access to camps to ensure safe and monitored access to all program and public school virtual classrooms.
  28. Brown Toy Box – $50,000 for STEAM programming specifically for Black and Brown students in Atlanta Public Schools and Clayton County school districts.
  29. C Life’s Fulfillment – $10,000 to provide a safe space for children of working parents during virtual learning.
  30. Calvary Refuge – $10,000 to re-house or prevent homelessness for families, many of which are served through shelter and transition services.
  31. Caminar Latino – $20,000 to provide the Latinx community with prevention services for those experiencing family and domestic violence.
  32. Caring For Others – $50,000 to address food insecurity and increase access to local, healthy, fresh foods in metro Atlanta.
  33. CaringWorks – $50,000 to train staff in community resilience, to advocate and educate on issues related to racial inequity and to provide behavioral health services.
  34. Carrie Steele-Pitts Home – $25,000 for increased behavioral health services focused on life skills and trauma informed care.
  35. CDF ACTION – $21,000 to support WiFi access, device and support to residents of two Clarkston apartments.
  36. Cherokee FOCUS – $10,000 for work readiness programming and general education diplomas for students in Cherokee County.
  37. Children’s Development Academy – $30,000 for subsidized high quality child care for low-income essential workers.
  38. Christ The Restorer Ministry – $15,000 to provide transitional housing and emergency housing to individuals and families Gwinnett County.
  39. City of Refuge – $50,000 for on campus classrooms for homeless students to access virtual learning in Atlanta and receive support from education facilitators.
  40. Clarkston Community Center Foundation – $35,000 to provide free, supervised open learning spaces for students in virtual classrooms in Clarkston.
  41. Clarkston Community Health Center – $10,000 for mental health services and prescription access.
  42. Clifton Sanctuary Ministries – $5,250 to provide housing stability and wrap-around supports for homeless men.
  43. Cobb Collaborative – $5,000 for digital resources and virtual workshops for nonprofits and community members focused on building capacity related to mental health and wellness.
  44. College Clinic – $10,000 to provide programming focused on college access, including preparation and the application process.
  45. Communities in Schools of Atlanta – $75,000 to provide high touch support for students and families through virtual learning.
  46. Community Farmers Markets – $10,000 to increase access to local food, support local farmers and minimize the effect of COVID-19 on the local food ecosystem.
  47. Concrete Jungle – $10,000 to increase access to fresh healthy food for medically fragile and other food insecure households.
  48. Connecting Henry – $25,000 to prevent homelessness and maintain family stability in Henry County.
  49. Cool Girls – $5,000 to address food insecurity for families.
  50. Corners Outreach – $50,000 for small group tutoring for students more than one grade level behind in reading in partnership with multiple elementary schools in Gwinnett and DeKalb Counties.
  51. Covenant House Georgia – $20,000 for housing stabilization services for youth ages 16-24 experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness and trafficking.
  52. Create Your Dreams – $40,000 for full day learning pods for children 7 to 17 in Atlanta to ensure access to virtual learning provided by Atlanta Public Schools and tutoring and academic support as needed.
  53. Diabetes Association of Atlanta – $26,000 to address access to healthy food in areas and populations either with or at risk of diabetes.
  54. Dukes Foundation – $40,000 to provide at-home equipment and internet connectivity.
  55. Duluth Cooperative Ministry – $5,000 to address food insecurity in Duluth.
  56. East Atlanta Kids Club – $18,000 to address food insecurity on the Eastside of Atlanta.
  57. Easter Seals North Georgia – $85,000 to serve children and families in DeKalb County with quality early learning experiences, including the purchase of laptops, internet and learning platforms.
  58. Elaine Clark Center – $10,000 for subsidized high quality care for families with children with special needs and supports for children on IEPs with school districts.
  59. Empowerment Resource Center – $50,000 for onsite and telemedicine behavioral health services.
  60. Everybody Wins Atlanta – $22,000 for a reading and mentoring program for struggling readers and access to home libraries.
  61. Extraordinary Life Community Church – $14,250 for healing groups and counseling.
  62. Families of Children under Stress – $12,500 for care coordination and integrated services that combat stress and social isolation.
  63. Family Health Centers of Georgia – $50,000 for school-based health services for students, families and the broader community.
  64. Family Heritage Foundation – $50,000 to provide financial assistance to individuals and families who are housing vulnerable due to COVID-19.
  65. Family Life Restoration Center – $25,000 to address food insecurity in Cobb County.
  66. Family Promise of Hall County – $6,750 to provide emergency assistance and long-term housing stabilization to families in Hall County.
  67. Family Promise of New Rock – $7,500 to provide emergency financial assistance to individuals and households to bridge gaps in rent, utilities and security deposits for housing.
  68. Fayette FACTOR (Fayette Alliance Connecting Together Our Resources) – $28,000 to work with schools to serve primarily BIPOC families with housing stabilization services.
  69. Feeding GA Families – $13,000 to address food insecurity in College Park.
  70. Fill Ministries dba Meals by Grace – $10,000 to address food insecurity in Forsyth County.
  71. Food Security for America – $5,000 to address food insecurity in apartment complexes in Cobb and Fulton Counties.
  72. Four Corners Group – $15,000 for job readiness training and employment opportunities for at-risk youth to ensure academic success and reduce recidivism.
  73. Friends of Atlanta Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill Park Communities Collaborative – $23,000 to address food insecurity in south Atlanta, including the Browns Mill, Lakewood, Norwood Manor, Thomasville Heights and Stonewall Heritage neighborhoods.
  74. Frontline Housing – $50,000 to provide rapid rehousing services for families living in motels and in need of permanent housing.
  75. Future Foundation – $40,000 for virtual tutoring program for students in Fulton County for both math and language arts, targeting learning loss and challenges to virtual learning for enrolled students.
  76. Georgia Foundation for Early Care + Learning – $45,000 to provide critical child care scholarships to children of essential workers in the COVID-19 Relief Fund footprint.
  77. Generation STEM dba The STEAM Generation – $14,000 so that vulnerable and low-income students at Title 1 schools can receive access to in-person, hands-on project based learning and after-school enrichment during this exacerbated period of educational inequities.
  78. Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network (GAIN) – $14,000 to provide grocery assistance to asylum seekers and immigrant victims of domestic violence.
  79. Georgia Community Support & Solutions, dba InCommunity – $15,000 for the purchase of devices for children of essential workers, specifically those providing direct serve needs to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  80. Georgia Mountains YMCA – $15,000 for providing students access to a safe facility during times the schools are virtual.
  81. Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education – $35,000 for state and regional advocacy efforts to examine policy and programmatic issues critical to COVID recovery efforts specifically impacting education outcomes.
  82. GeorgiaCAN – $10,000 for advocacy efforts for families of economically disadvantaged students and those with special needs.
  83. Georgians for a Healthy Future – $15,000 for policy efforts for equitable access to high quality behavioral health services and supports.
  84. Gilgal – $28,950 for integrated mental health services and staff training for trauma informed care.
  85. Good News Clinics – $40,000 for depression screenings and counseling services.
  86. Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund – $150,000 for multiple digital learning improvements for early learning access, for students, for teachers and even for parents.
  87. H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People be Empowered) – $9,000 for rent and childcare assistance for single parents attending school.
  88. Habitat for Humanity DeKalb – $50,000 to assist current homeowners and future homeowners who may be adversely affected, facing unexpected lost wages and increased childcare costs.
  89. Hand, Heart and Soul Project – $50,000 for a community garden and food distribution site in Forest Park.
  90. Harvest Rain Early Learning Academy – $30,000 to provide subsidized high quality early learning experiences and in person access for children of essential workers.
  91. Haven of Light International – $16,800 for online support groups and trainings that address domestic violence, racial trauma and resilience.
  92. Helping Hands for the Deaf – $6,000 for addressing food insecurity among deaf individuals.
  93. Hispanic Alliance Georgia – $50,000 for food pantry providing culturally appropriate food for the Latinx community in Hall County.
  94. Historic Westside Gardens ATL – $20,000 to address food insecurity and increase access to local, fresh, healthy food in the Westside of Atlanta.
  95. HomeStretch – $50,000 to provide transitional, supportive and rapid rehousing services to homeless families in the North Fulton area.
  96. Hope for Youth – $15,000 to deliver a safe after-school program for 100 girls.
  97. Hopebound Mental Health – $15,000 for mental health services provided to students and their families at Carver High School.
  98. House of Cherith – $30,000 for the residential recovery program for adult female survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation.
  99. House of Dawn – $15,000 to provide assistance through short-term housing services, emergency assistance and mental health/childcare supports.
  100. HouseProud Atlanta – $32,500 for seniors to ensure they stay in their homes and also provide access to needed home repairs.
  101. Housing Tonight – $10,000 to assist housing vulnerable populations with housing and supportive services in Atlanta, DeKalb and Clayton counties.
  102. Impact46 dba Lawrenceville Response Center – $50,000 to re-house or prevent homelessness for individuals and families in Gwinnett County.
  103. Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage and Disability – $10,000 to provide rental and utility assistance for older adults raising grandchildren with special needs.
  104. INROADS – $50,000 for INROADS College Links program in the Atlanta market.
  105. Inspiredu – $125,000 to address digital literacy and equitable technology access.
  106. Integrated Resources for Educating and Nurturing the Elderly – $12,500 for multi-generational services via the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program for Gwinnett and Walton counties.
  107. Interactive Neighborhood for Kids – $10,000 for hands on learning experiences in a safe environment for young learners and students in North Georgia.
  108. Intown Collaborative Ministries – $10,000 to address food insecurity in the City of Atlanta.
  109. Jeremiah’s Destiny – $3,000 for in-person, safe assistance to students in virtual learning.
  110. Jesus Set the Captive Free – $6,000 to provide housing assistance to men, primarily veterans, who are vulnerable to homelessness.
  111. Ke’nekt Cooperative – $38,000 to address food insecurity in Westview and West End neighborhoods.
  112. Kennesaw Dream Foundation – $10,000 for virtual tutoring program for middle and high school students.
  113. L&J Empowerment dba The Confess Project – $45,000 to train barbers and community organizers to become mental health advocates.
  114. LaAmistad – $60,000 for virtual tutoring for Latino students throughout the greater Atlanta region, including small group support and at home learning kits.
  115. Leap Year – $17,500 to for a two-generation model reading coach program that engages recent high school graduates to serve elementary students.
  116. Los Niños Primero (Children First) – $30,000 for continued distance learning educational and leadership programs and early learning opportunities for Latino families in Fulton county.
  117. Loving Arms Cancer Outreach – $8,000 to serve medically fragile, food insecure cancer patients.
  118. E.N.S. Wear (Making Employment the Next Step) – $25,000 for workforce development training aimed at providing expanded career pathways for frontline essential workers.
  119. Making A Way Housing – $30,000 to provide emergency, permanent supportive housing for people with chronic illness and disability.
  120. Marietta City Schools – $22,625 for technology needs, tutoring and mentoring to support vulnerable students and specifically students of color.
  121. Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation – $10,000 for community-based programing that supports college access and preparation for students at Maynard Jackson.
  122. Melanated Pearl Corporation – $25,000 for homeless prevention services for families led by women of color in Clayton County.
  123. Mental Fitness 21st Century Learning – $55,000 for technology and a virtual STEAM Literacy library to help students in specific underserved communities.
  124. Mental Health America of Georgia – $27,000 for the Mental Health Academy Training Program.
  125. Mercy Seed Resource Center – $8,000 to address food insecurity in Gwinnett County and metro Atlanta.
  126. Metamorphasis Powerhouse Company – $25,000 to fund public learning classrooms designed to equip students in pathways of success through project-learning activities in STEM, grade-level reading, career and college readiness in historically underserved communities.
  127. Metro Atlanta Urban Farm (MAUF) – $55,000 for an Urban Farm and Community Garden site in College Park.
  128. Morehouse School of Medicine – $42,500 for mental health first-aid to support men of color in neighborhood barbershops within the 30314 zip code.
  129. Museum of Design/Atlanta – $15,000 to provide STEM education access free of charge during virtual learning.
  130. My Brothers Keepers Reaching Out dba I Care Atlanta – $27,000 to address food insecurity in DeKalb County.
  131. NAMI DeKalb – $5,000 to expand peer support services and educational classes for individuals, caregivers, and families in DeKalb County.
  132. Nana Grants – $20,000 for child care scholarships to children of mothers in post-secondary programs.
  133. National Coalition of 100 Black Women Stone Mountain Lithonia – $10,000 for tablets and other STEM related resources and programming for black women and girls.
  134. New American Pathways – $10,000 for targeted academic support and enrichment for refugee and immigrants students in DeKalb County.
  135. New Life Community Ministries – $38,000 to address food insecurity in South DeKalb.
  136. Next Generation Focus – $30,000 for a virtual platform that provides after school learning opportunities for students to address academic loss.
  137. Nobis Works dba Tommy Nobis Center – $10,000 for programming that addresses barriers to academic success for students with special needs and their families.
  138. Nothing but the Truth – $5,000 to provide “Weekend Food Bags” for families in Title I schools in Gwinnett County.
  139. nsoro Educational Foundation – $10,000 to assist youth aged out of foster care with housing instability.
  140. Odyssey Family Counseling Center – $20,000 for individual and group therapy, and psychiatric services for individuals/families living in south Fulton County.
  141. Odyssey, Atlanta – $10,000 to provide year round access to tutors and mentors to mitigate learning loss.
  142. Our House – $75,000 to provide homeless shelter students access to high quality early learning, in person learning supports, as well as devices and WiFii/hotspot connectivity.
  143. Paradise Atlanta Westside Enrichment Center (PAWKids) – $13,000 to address food insecurity in Northwest Atlanta.
  144. PARENTS PROSPER (Formerly Parent Avengers) – $15,000 to connect with other parents that require assistance to maintain their housing in Vine City/English Ave.
  145. Partners in Action for Healthy Living – $43,000 to address food insecurity in South DeKalb and the metro Atlanta region.
  146. Phenomenal Women’s Health – $5,000 for comprehensive health services for high risk youth and uninsured/underinsured women.
  147. Place of Hope Clinic – $50,000 for the establishment of a mobile health unit to provide services in communities served.
  148. Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church – $6,000 to address food insecurity in Cobb County.
  149. Poetic Services – $10,000 for Learning Pods in underserved communities, ensuring students have access to devices, WiFi and staff to assist with homework needs.
  150. Presencia – $10,000 for in-person tutoring programs for struggling readers in a safe and monitored environment.
  151. Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale – $20,000 for safe and supportive learning environments for children in Rockdale and Newton Counties with access to tutoring and weekly home visits with families to address barriers to virtual learning at home.
  152. Project South – $50,000 for advocacy and mobilization of student and young adult voices in response to education needs during the pandemic, and laptops, hotspots for students and young adults and an education space for students in South Atlanta to access virtual
  153. Quality Care for Children – $75,000 to ensure training, technical assistance and necessary supplies for regional early learning providers and the provision of stabilization grants and parent access scholarships.
  154. R2ISE – $20,000 for art therapy programs addressing behavioral health challenges as a result of racial trauma.
  155. Rainbow House – $20,000 for emergency sheltering for children during the day as they access virtual learning opportunities.
  156. Rainbow Park Baptist Church – $25,000 to address food insecurity through a food pantry in South DeKalb County.
  157. Rainbow Village – $30,000 for mental health and integrated health services for residents living in the community.
  158. Raising Expectations – $100,000 to provide targeted virtual support for students in the City of Atlanta and in-person support for targeted students who were falling behind based on school district data.
  159. Raksha – $50,000 to provide housing assistance and utility assistance in addition to other supportive services regionally to the South Asian community that are victims of family violence throughout the region.
  160. re:imagine/ATL – $50,000 to acquire additional equipment and access to technology to serve more students.
  161. Reaping the Harvest Outreach Ministries International – $10,000 to fund a food pantry that serves Henry, South Fulton, Clayton and Butts County communities.
  162. Rebuilding Together-Atlanta – $5,000 to provide home repairs and maintenance to ensure low-income seniors stay in their home and maintain home ownership.
  163. Reflections of Trinity – $25,000 to address food insecurity in Cobb, Fulton and Paulding Counties.
  164. Refugee Women’s Network – $50,000 to assist refugee women with homeless prevention and housing protection services.
  165. Rhema Housing – $40,000 to provide rapid re-housing, emergency support and homeless diversion services for ex-offenders, veterans and those with disabilities
  166. Ryan Cameron Foundation (RCF) – $17,500 for technology for students, self-care sessions for teachers and PPE supplies.
  167. E.E.K. Foundation – $22,000 for hands-on learning for students in grades 7 to 11 on the Westside of Atlanta, including laptops, drones, coding software and WiFi.
  168. H.A.R.E. House – $25,000 to prevent homelessness and keep mothers and their children housed and safe in Douglas and Paulding Counties.
  169. Saint Philip Child Development Center – $50,000 to provide safe care and high quality learning experiences to children aged two to five in families with parents who must return to work.
  170. Saint Philip Community Development Corporation – $25,000 to address food insecurity in South DeKalb.
  171. Science, Engineering and Mathematics Link – $12,000 to fund STEM programming, which has been the hardest content area to pivot during this virtual COVID-19 period.
  172. Scottdale Early Learning – $50,000 to provide care for school-age children of staff that are attending school virtually.
  173. Second Helpings Atlanta – $25,000 to address food insecurity in metro Atlanta.
  174. Self-Discovery: Pain, Positioning & Purpose – $10,000 for virtual trainings for youth and young adults aimed at reducing bullying and suicide.
  175. Sheltering Arms – $150,000 to provide quality learning opportunities and address learning loss for children of vulnerable families during the pandemic by providing critical childcare resources that enable parents to return to work or maintain employment.
  176. Shine Community – $50,000 to expand programs and implement new trauma-informed services.
  177. Showcase Group – $35,500 for behavioral health services and training for youth and families returning from the juvenile justice system.
  178. Sisu of Georgia – $50,000 for access to subsidized high-quality early learning opportunities and therapy for children with special needs in families who must work outside the home.
  179. SKIP Georgia Chapter – $30,000 to fund high-quality learning opportunities to prevent academic deficiency and failure among the middle and high school grade level students who are disadvantaged due to absentee parents who are incarcerated, detached or unavailable because they work multiple jobs.
  180. Smart Foundation – $10,000 for computers, laptops or tablets for low-income students who don’t have access.
  181. South DeKalb Improvement Association Education – $17,000 for virtual tutoring services for students in kindergarten through fifth grade in South DeKalb.
  182. STAR House Foundation – $10,000 for virtual one-on-one and small group tutoring to students in Fulton County.
  183. State Charter Schools Foundation of Georgia – $150,000 for technology and/or internet access for approximately 1,000 students and for remote tutoring services to support the most vulnerable students.
  184. Still Waters Learning Center – $25,000 for a mobile outreach tutoring program within apartment complexes to address learning loss and struggling learners.
  185. STRIVE Atlanta – $83,187 for hardware and tech support for STRIVE students – 50% of the current cohort indicated a need for technology support, as did 32% of alumni in the Atlanta database.
  186. Study Hall – $15,000 for daily online tutoring programs for students at Dunbar Elementary as identified by school staff.
  187. Sugarloaf Korean Baptist Church – $25,000 to address food insecurity in Gwinnett County.
  188. Supreme Family Foundation – $58,000 for provision of frozen and shelf-stable meals for seniors in metro Atlanta.
  189. Teach “O” Rea Preparatory Preschool Incorporated – $21,000 for high-quality early learning experiences and academic after-school support for economically disadvantaged students in Clarkston and Stone Mountain.
  190. TechBridge – $16,500 for learning pods for the most vulnerable students and after-school, project-based STEAM programs.
  191. Toco Hills Community Alliance – $12,000 to address food insecurity in DeKalb County
  192. Together Friends Organization – $8,000 to fund middle school math programming in Clayton County.
  193. Tri-Cities Church – $3,000 to address food insecurity in College Park, East Point and Hapeville.
  194. Trinity Outreach International – $32,000 to work with schools, particularly those that have been designated as Title 1 schools, to address food insecurity.
  195. Truancy Intervention Project Georgia – $10,000 for trained volunteers working directly with students at Dunbar Elementary to address attendance challenges to virtual learning.
  196. Ubuntu 4 Youth – $5,000 to build home libraries and a book club for English as a Second Language students during virtual learning.
  197. Vision 21 Concepts – $40,000 to provide housing to vulnerable populations in Douglasville (youth, ex-offenders, ppl w/disabilities) with housing options and services that support self-sufficiency.
  198. Vision Tutoring Educational Foundation – $25,000 to fund tutoring programming that addresses learning loss for students of vulnerable families.
  199. VISIONful Communities – $12,500 for arts-based healing focused on racial trauma.
  200. Voices for Georgia’s Children – $20,000 to grow the capacity of youth-serving professionals and organizations, and advocacy efforts to expand access to youth services.
  201. We Love BuHi – $13,000 to address food insecurity along the Buford Highway corridor.
  202. West Atlanta Community Outreach – $30,000 for childcare support for frontline works and continued internet services for families who need a safe space.
  203. West End Family Life and Community Center – $15,000 to address food insecurity in the West End and surrounding neighborhoods.
  204. West Georgia Missions – $5,000 to offer housing stabilization to individuals in arrears or that are homeless in West Georgia.
  205. Wholesome Wave Georgia – $58,000 for addressing food insecurity and increasing access to fresh, local, healthy foods in our region.
  206. Women Are Dreamers Too – $37,675 for virtual STEM educational content.
  207. Wylde Center – $10,000 for virtual programing and curriculum enhancements, providing hands on learning and at-home kits for STEM aligned lessons.
  208. YMCA of Metro Atlanta – $200,000 to continue providing 1) Campus Connections, 2) out-of-school programming to reach low-income students of working families and 3) trauma-informed care so staff members and counselors can better serve their students.
  209. Young Entrepreneurs of Atlanta Foundation – $29,000 for student access to entrepreneurial skills via livestream and self pace learning guided by community experts.
  210. Young Stars of America – $25,000 for laptops, internet connectivity and space for safe learning pods.
  211. youthSpark – $35,000 for behavioral health services, mental health training, and advocacy for children affected by sex trafficking.
  212. Zaban Paradies Center – $10,000 for mental health services for families experiencing homelessness.
  213. Zion Hill Community Development Corporation – $50,000 for rapid re-housing and emergency assistance in South Fulton.

About United Way of Greater Atlanta

United Way of Greater Atlanta, the largest United Way 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 Mission 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

Matthew Pieper and his team had to act quickly.

There were more than 3,000 people in the Greater Atlanta region that relied on Open Hand Atlanta—he serves as its executive director currently and has been with the organization for a total of 11 years—for their meals each day.

Open Hand Atlanta operates with a staff of about 130 out of an office and commercial-sized kitchen in Midtown Atlanta. Open Hand prepares, packs and delivers healthy, nutritious meals each day to households throughout the Atlanta metro for those who might otherwise go without.

“We serve adults of all ages, a large majority of our clients live 200 percent below the poverty level, and they represent the sickest of the sick and poorest of the poor,” Pieper says. “They are most often battling some serious and chronic health conditions, and most are battling multiple health conditions.”

Open Hand relies heavily on volunteers, and Pieper says that means they have on average 100 volunteers daily and thousands each year.

But things had changed. Over the past few weeks, a storm was coming his way—and when it arrived, he said there were going to be a lot of decisions that had to take place.

“Our heads are spinning with the rapid rate of change, and in such a short period of time, we’ve had to completely redesign our operations and business model on a temporary basis to weather the storm,” Pieper says.

That storm in question was 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 March 26, 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 70,000 people nationwide and killed more than 1,000.

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.

Pieper was most worried about the clients he serves, employees at Open Hand and its volunteers. The virus could spread quickly and easily, and he had to do his best to reduce the risk of infection while “living up to [Open Hand’s] commitment to get meals to people in need.”

“That meant a lot of change and tough decisions,” Pieper says. “We are typically a 7-day a week operation, and a pride point is the amount of choice and the variety that we offer. We have been one-stop shopping for nutrition needs for a long time, but in this crisis period, we have streamlined significantly. The food will always be quality, but we have greatly reduced the choice and simplified menus, shifting to almost a completely frozen line of meals.”

Open Hand reduced operations to a 3.5-day work week with more frozen meals delivered daily and “shelf stable” meals in case Open Hand had to suspend operations because of an emergency. The use of volunteers has been greatly reduced, as well.

“We now have two production teams that don’t have interaction with each other,” Pieper says. “Volunteers now only deliver meals. This helps us reduce the exposure to COVID-19.

“But our labor costs shot up immediately.”

 

‘A LONG, FRUITFUL PARTNERSHIP’

Open Hand was able to utilize its partnership with United Way of Greater Atlanta and Community Foundation in order to help in this time of need.

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. Open Hand was given $250,000 in grants to continue their operation.

The prior 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.

Grants from the Fund focus on immediate and critical needs to support those most vulnerable.

“We’ve had a long, fruitful partnership with United Way,” Pieper says. “I admire United Way immensely and their CEO [and President] Milton [J. Little Jr.] is just such a gift to our city. I think what I admire about the United Way model is that they are so good at rallying the community and securing resources to help nonprofits.”

Pieper says Community Foundation has always been one of Open Hand’s biggest supporters as well.

“From the earliest days, Community Foundation has been there for us,” Pieper says. “They provide incredible advice and guidance and training, especially for not-for-profit leaders. I can’t even do justice to how phenomenal the team is and how much of a visionary their CEO Alicia Philipp is. She is a true saint.”

To protect clients, employees and volunteers, Pieper has veered from normal procedures, but some things will never change. Open Hand’s love for the community it serves and volunteers and employees that are the backbone of its operation will outlast this storm.

“During this crisis, we will not be personally handing the meal bags to our clients, but rather calling them upon arrival and letting them know their meals are at their front door,” he says. “We don’t want our clients or delivery volunteers to risk exposure.  We’re saddened by the necessity to do this during this pandemic as our usual face-to-face contact with our clients is a special part of our mission. It helps people for them to know they are cared for, and we help reduce social isolation, which is a big concern for people who are homebound.

“This is a sad time for us, but we want to be there for our clients. It’s what we have to do.”

To give to the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund and provide resources and supports for nonprofits across Greater Atlanta like Open Hand, click here.