Belisa Urbina knew the well-being of her staff was her most important priority, but she had an important decision to make—she and her husband, Miguel, both.

The two founded the nonprofit Ser Familia in 2001 after moving from Puerto Rico to Georgia in 1999. In the nearly two decades since its inception, Ser Familia has become a leading program in Georgia that provides family services to the Latino communities of the Greater Atlanta region.

So, in March 2020 with the probable outbreak of the novel coronavirus on the horizon, Belisa says she reached out to her employees and board members for input.

“I remember that on a Sunday I sent a text to my board members and asked if they could meet with me via phone that afternoon,” Belisa says. “We went through every scenario—what if we closed the offices, we kept this one open, closed that one—we crunched the numbers and made plans from ABC up to Z.”

Belisa says Ser Familia ultimately made the decision to keep their offices open through the worst of the pandemic. She said it was important—too important—that the Latino community have a place to come “in the midst of a tremendous crisis,” and “be listened to and be supported.”

“We were blessed to be able to provide emergency assistance in the way we could do it,” she says. “We have provided the same services that we provided [before the pandemic], and on top of that, we are doing an emergency relief effort of really large proportions.”

Ser Familia aims to strengthen Latino families and equip Latino youth, couples, parents and families through programs that “teach improved life, leadership and communication skills,” and they offer social services to Latino families—for almost 20 years they have offered youth programs, case management, victim support services, mental health counseling, immigration legal relief efforts and other emergency services, Belisa says.

To this day, Belisa says Ser Familia has supplied more than $400K in emergency rental assistance.

And the demand has increased since the COVID-19 outbreak. Ser Familia 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 the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

On Aug. 11, United Way and Community Foundation announced the seventh round of grants for the COVID-19 response. Ser Familia received $150,000 to meet the increased demand for emergency financial assistance.

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 resulting from COVID-19.

The Latino community was one of the “first ones to be impacted,” Belisa says, after state and local officials made efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus by shutting down small businesses, restaurants, gyms and schools.

As of Sept. 1, COVID-19, which is a respiratory illness with symptoms such as cough, fever and in severe cases, difficulty breathing, has infected more than 6 million nationwide and killed more than 183,000 people.

“The hospitality industry, construction, all of those where the Latino families work went out the door,” Belisa says. “From this point, there’s no recovery in sight.”

Belisa’s team did a survey around the second week of April to see just how great the impact in her community was. She said Ser Familia found that of the surveyed, about 65 percent had lost one or both sources of income in the home.

Ser Familia had pivoted to address the immediate needs of the community, Belisa says, which meant offering tutoring, addressing food insecurity, COVID-19 testing, etc.

She’s been thankful for her staff and their ability to step up during these times—often working long hours, weekends. With every challenge that COVID-19 brought, Belisa says her staff went “toe to toe with it.”

“Sometimes you think that you have the right people on [staff], but it’s times like these when you just know you have the right people,” Belisa says. “My staff has been here and have shown up every day, every time. They have gone beyond everything that I have imagined they would do. They have made every difference in the world.”

She was also extremely grateful for the grant funds provided by United Way and Community Foundation. Without this partnership and support, she says, “none of this would be possible.”

If you would like to help empower this work in communities across Greater Atlanta, donate to the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

If you or someone you know lives within the city limits of Atlanta and are in need of emergency rental assistance, visit relief.uwga.org to see if you might be eligible for funds that could cover past due rent, utilities and move-in deposits as a result of impending eviction.

A man had his hours cut at work—from eight hours a day down to three—because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, his employer told him that they would have to let him go. There was only one thought on his mind, though: how was he going to pay for his rent and take care of his family?

He says a friend told him to reach out to Inspiritus because they were assisting people who had also lost their job.

“When I called Inspiritus to ask for help, I got one month rent for my home,” he says. “I was under stress financially and mentally. The one-month rent assistance gives me so much support because I know everyone is desperately in need.”

There are many in Greater Atlanta who are “desperately in need” right now. Inspiritus is a nonprofit organization focused on guiding people who have “experienced disruption” back on the path from simply surviving to a position where they can thrive.

Calling the pandemic outbreak of the novel coronavirus a “disruption” is an extreme understatement.

About two weeks into March, major cities across the country began shutting down businesses, restaurants, gyms and schools in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus. As of Aug. 24, COVID-19, which is a respiratory illness with symptoms such as cough, fever and in severe cases, difficulty breathing, has infected more than 5.6 million people nationwide and killed more than 176,000.

This is more than just a health crisis. There are families in Greater Atlanta who are feeling the economic impact, too.

“The families that COVID has disproportionately hit have been the low-income families and people of color,” says Sarah Burke, Development Associate for Inspiritus.

Inspiritus provides services to a large refugee and immigrant population. They provide financial advisement, disability services, disaster relief and they also have a career center to help connect clients to employment. Inspiritus delivers basic needs, safety, community integration and self-sufficiency programs and services to help individuals and families achieve a “thriving life.”

Things have changed in the past six months, though. They have also been connecting families with food banks and making sure children and their parents are receiving EBT relief, Burke says.

“We want to make sure parents know what resources are available to them, their rights and that they have a strong liaison to the community between the resources and their family,” Burke says.

But many of the requests for help have come in the form of rental assistance, Burke says. Many people who apply for help have lost their jobs because of COVID-19, they’ve been furloughed or laid off or have had to take up to two weeks off because of exposure to the virus and have missed a paycheck.

“We have teams that can help them find jobs,” Burke says. “For many, this is one-time relief and the goal is that they can return to work if they’ve had COVID or, if they’ve lost their job, they can come to our staff and find a new job. They need to make sure they don’t fall behind on rent because of an interruption in their employment or income, and they need to make sure they aren’t evicted because of COVID.”

According to the Aspen Institute, if current conditions do not change, 29-45 percent of renter households in Georgia could be at risk of eviction by the end of the year.

Organizations like Inspiritus are crucial, but so is the funding it takes to provide these services.

Inspiritus 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 the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

On Aug. 11, United Way and Community Foundation announced the seventh round of grants for the COVID-19 response. Inspiritus received $100,000 to meet the increased demand for financial assistance in its multi-county area.

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 resulting from COVID-19.

Inspiritus has been a longstanding partner with United Way prior to COVID-19 and has supported the organization’s work with children and families and its refugee and immigrants services — you can learn more about Inspiritus and their work at www.weinspirit.org.

The past few months have been difficult, but Burke says it has shown how strong Inspiritus’ team is and just how important collaborations with organizations like United Way and Community Foundation can be.

She says the staff miss having that firsthand, heart-to-heart connection with those families they help.

“It’s hard—hard is not even the right word,” she says. “It’s had a strong, emotional impact on our staff and the clients to not be able to sit with them, but our leadership team has done a phenomenal job of trying to improve morale.

“Our team is incredible, they work so hard and care so strongly about the people that they are serving.”

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.

Think of a child in the Fulton County School System. He’s in fourth grade, in a few years, he’ll be in middle school and before you know it, he’ll be walking across the stage with diploma in hand.

This little boy’s life hasn’t always been the easiest—his mother had difficulty keeping a full-time job until she started driving for Uber. They’ve both been living in motel rooms and temporary housing this year. Life is a struggle, but there’s enough to live on for now. Things are OK, and at least one thing has been a constant for this little boy through it all.

Each morning, he wakes up and goes to school. He may not have the same access to resources as his classmates or other children living in neighboring zip codes, but he gets the same opportunity for a quality education. This is his normal, the life he’s come to expect.

Life changed for this child on March 9, though, when it was announced a teacher in the Fulton County School System had confirmed they were infected with COVID-19. In the coming days, school systems were ordered to be closed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, shelter-in-place orders were enforced by state and local officials and children across the state were forced to stay at home.

But that created a whole new set of problems. It has been hard to get in touch with families, not all children had access to computers or the internet, parents lost jobs or had hours cut back tremendously, access to groceries, transportation and housing needs were pushed to the forefront—there were mental health issues to address, as well.

“We’ve always had these needs,” says Chelsea Montgomery, executive director of Counseling, Psychological and Social Work Services for Fulton County Schools. “COVID urgently increased our need for basic resources, and money would be critical. It’s expensive to get families in hotels.”

“We did a good job of making school meals accessible, but transportation was a challenge. Now we’re starting to see a lot more need for housing and support for COVID-related trauma.”

There are currently more than 1,300 students in the Fulton County School System who are homeless, Montgomery says. Those students and their families are spread throughout the county and are not just limited to one region.

While issues like these have always been apparent in Fulton County, the pandemic outbreak of the novel coronavirus and the forced shutdown of many businesses across Greater Atlanta have only exacerbated these problems. As of May 11, 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 1.3 million and killed more than 78,000 people across the United States.

As schools shut down, Montgomery says her team of social workers began hearing from homeless children, foster families and other at-risk children of their specific needs. She said there wasn’t yet a way to fulfill them. They had to act quickly.

“The school Social Workers are in constant contact with families, and so are all of our Student Support Staff,” Montgomery says. “They have been checking in with families each week, and as those needs come up, the [School Social Workers] complete a request form, we have our internal reviewers take a look at those requests and we meet them.”

Montgomery was able to turn to Graham Huff with the Fulton Education Foundation to help provide funds and access for these families that needed it.

The Fulton Education Foundation was established to partner with the community to address the physical, emotional, academic and enrichment needs of all students. They have provided College and Career services, after-school programs, mental health services, early education opportunities and scholarships.

But this pandemic presented new challenges. Huff knew the need in Fulton County was great, and he leveraged previous relationships with contacts at United Way of Greater Atlanta and Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to apply for money through the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

The Fulton Education Foundation was awarded grants totaling $300,000 to contribute to the costs of housing, food, transportation and therapy for students presenting the greatest needs.

“We’ve placed 36 families so far, and we’ve helped them with some rent coverage,” Huff said May 11. “We’re also helping them with hygiene supplies and mental health services. We’ve put together a great committee, and we’re doing a great job for accountability.”

Huff, who has been the President and CEO of the Fulton Education Foundation for just “over a year,” said the foundation has looked at this as a “bottom-up approach,” working to provide homeless families a place to stay first, and then pre-loaded gift cards that can be used to purchase grocery items or to pay for transportation.

This was the first funding Huff had received from both United Way and Community Foundation, he says.

“We’ve really tried to implement best practices and set the standards for this type of support system,” Huff says. “We’ve been able to put more toward support of students this year than the previous 10 years combined—we’ve received large gifts even beyond this COVID-19 grant.”

Montgomery says her school system was “bombarded” with families in need once this pandemic struck.

“We were preparing, but it happened really quickly,” she says. “We didn’t have good, safe, quick solutions.

“But Graham came and said, ‘What are your challenges?’ I got with our lead team and said, ‘This is what we need.’”

These funds provided by United Way and Community Foundation gave Montgomery, her team and families in Fulton County one vitally important thing: hope.

That’s been invaluable during this time.

“It’s really nice for my staff to know that when we talk to these families, we have a solution,” Montgomery says. “Not only is it amazing for our families, but our morale has been better. It’s incredible to know there’s not a lot of red tape or rules and that we can just provide help, and fast. It’s exactly what our families needed.”

If you would like to help more children and families across Georgia, give to United Way of Greater Atlanta and Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

ATLANTA – April 21, 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 announced the Fund’s fifth round of grants. A total of $1.463 million will be distributed to 13 organizations for emergency response. A grand total of nearly $12 million from the Fund has been mobilized to benefit 75 nonprofits to date. Grants made in the earlier rounds are detailed on both the Community Foundation’s website and United Way’s website

Today’s grant recipients from the fifth round and their grant amounts, are: 

 

  • Atlanta Technical College Foundation ($100,000) Due to COVID-19, many Pell-eligible students need housing assistance, food, personal care products and other basic needs. Almost 70 percent of Atlanta Technical College (ATC) students are economically disadvantaged and receive some form of financial aid. Students are mostly female, many of whom work and are raising children. Since closing in-person instruction due to COVID-19, ATC has seen a rise in student need in technology supports, emergency financial assistance and online tutorial services. ATC has created a Students’ Technology Support Fund and a Students’ Emergency Assistance Fund and expanded its online tutorial services. This grant will support the added costs related to providing added supports for students.

 

  • Clayton County Public Schools Foundation ($125,000) Clayton County Public Schools Foundation (Foundation) supports 55,000 Pre-K through 12th grade students and their families in the Clayton County school system. During this critical time the Foundation has provided meals, identified students who have educational needs and ensured that support for students with special needs continues. The Foundation has identified 1,750 students who do not have access to a laptop for online learning and are only completing assignments on a cell phone when it is available. This grant will support the purchase of Chromebooks that can be paired with Wi-Fi devices being provided to Clayton County students by 100 Black Men of America.

 

  • Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation($25,000) More than 60-percent of Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) students are Pell-eligible. Due to COVID-19, many students need housing assistance, food, personal care products and other basic needs. GGC has established a Student Emergency Fund to support students whose education might be derailed due to the pandemic. The Fund is addressing student needs for food, gasoline, housing, rent and utilities, essential items that students need to keep them functional and enrolled. This grant will contribute to the emergency fund to meet essential student needs. 

 

  • Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB Education) ($50,000) Within a week of the first school closures in March, GPB Education began providing expanded free services and resources to educators, students and families. They partnered with the Georgia Department of Education to launch Georgia Home Classroom, which includes a library of digital learning resources that adhere to the state’s standards for fostering at-home learning across all subjects and grade levels. GPB Education is also providing a daily e-newsletter to 50,000+ subscribers with recommendations on learning activities and opportunities, and weekly live webinars offering instructional strategies for remote learning. This grant will support extended services beyond the academic year and will provide educational support for families without technology and/or internet access and help mitigate what potentially may be a five-month learning loss for students who don’t have access to educational content.

 

  • Georgia State University Foundation ($100,000) Georgia State University (GSU) has established an Emergency Assistance Fund to provide aid to students who need immediate resources and support during the pandemic. GSU serves a particularly vulnerable population of students – nearly 60 percent are Pell-eligible with a median family income under $27,000. GSU has a streamlined, rapid response system in place where they can verify, document and award emergency funds to students in need within 24-48 hours. This grant will support GSU’s emergency funds that can be deployed to students immediately to alleviate housing and food insecurity and help fill in the gaps for other basic emergency needs. Awards to date have ranged from $250 to $1,000.

 

  • Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation ($200,000) Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) has been continuing students’ education by providing Digital Learning Days for students to receive daily assignments and connect with each of their teachers using the established learning management system, called eClass. About 10 percent of students (18,000 students) have not yet logged into their eClass page to view assignments, communication and resources provided by their teachers, largely due to lack of internet access. This grant will enable GCPS to purchase hot spots and internet service plans for families in need and to provide ‘Play 2 Learn’ packets with books and activities for parents of children under age 5 who would normally be served in childcare centers.  

 

  • Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage and Disability ($50,000) Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage and Disability (ISDD) provides support including case management, support groups, training and in-home tutoring to low-income, senior-headed households that include children with special needs. The average age of ISDD’s caregivers is 60, and many have an underlying health condition, such as diabetes or hypertension, which puts them at particular risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. This population is usually overlooked by existing systems. This grant will help ISDD provide food to these families and support their other needs, such as laptops for children to participate in school.  

 

  • KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools ($100,000) KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools is a network of 10 tuition-free, public charter schools that offer college-preparatory education in Atlanta’s educationally underserved communities, serving 4,600 students and 800 alumni in college. KIPP Metro Atlanta is not receiving COVID-19 emergency supports through the Georgia Charter Schools Association, Atlanta Public Schools or Fulton County Schools. Due to COVID-19, KIPP students need access to laptops and the internet for successful long-term distance learning. This grant will help provide students access to laptops, IT support and internet access, distance learning transitioning supplies and curriculum and emergency funding for families of students and alumni.

 

  • Marietta City Schools ($75,000) Marietta City Schools’ (MCS) response to students’ basic needs initially focused on feeding the thousands of children who depend on school for meals. Sixty percent of MCS students qualify for free/reduced lunch. The school system served more than 65,000 meals March 16 through April 3. Another immediate need is to keep students connected to learning, many of whom do not have Wi-Fi or devices needed for distance learning. MCS has purchased six months of Wi-Fi connectivity and has loaned 3,000 computers to ensure students can stay connected to learning during the closure. This grant will contribute to the $150,000 cost of connectivity for approximately 700 students who currently don’t have access. 

 

  • Partners for HOME ($300,000) Through their proven track record and partnership with the City of Atlanta, Partners for HOME (PfH) was able to leverage a $1.5 million pledge from the City for their COVID-19 response and action plan to address and assist people experiencing homelessness during this pandemic. PfH seeks to stop the spread of COVID-19 among shelter populations and house the most vulnerable: those over the age of 55 and those with underlying health conditions. PfH is coordinating with government and nonprofit organizations to provide 250 people with shelter, meals and healthcare for three months. This grant will support this effort that includes isolation beds, comprehensive testing and permanent supportive housing.

 

  • Partnership for Southern Equity ($150,000) Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) works to advance policies and institutional actions that promote racial equity and shared prosperity for all. In response to COVID-19, PSE is re-granting funds to primarily African American-led organizations to provide emergency financial assistance to residents facing food insecurity, unstable housing and precarious physical and mental challenges. High rates of chronic diseases and increased risks of exposure because of work requirements, transportation and housing options combine for devastating effects: while 43% of Fulton County residents are African American, African Americans represent 85% of COVID-19 related deaths in Fulton County. This grant will assist PSE and its partners serving approximately 900 residents in the Pittsburgh and Peoplestown neighborhoods in Atlanta and several neighborhoods in South Fulton county.

 

  • Quality Care for Children ($150,000) Quality Care for Children (QCC) serves more than 100,000 children annually through the direct support of childcare providers, both center-based and family childcare. Without assistance during the COVID-19 crisis, many providers will close their doors, never to reopen. QCC is also focused on helping connect essential workers to childcare options and giving childcare providers up-to-date essential information and training to help them weather these times. This grant will support a referral network for essential workers to find licensed care, funding to help childcare programs remain open, costs of meals for children and costs related to training and webinars for childcare providers to learn about how this crisis will impact them. 

 

  • Southerners On New Ground ($38,400) Southerners On New Ground (SONG) is a resource for LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender and sexuality in the South. SONG’s response to COVID-19 includes broadening its usual service populations to include Black men and children, and the organization is now serving people ranging in age from 6 – 55 years. SONG’s response has two primary efforts – advocating for the release of people held in Fulton County jails to help prevent the spread of the disease and coordinating the neighborhood Mutual Aid efforts in the West End and Mechanicsville neighborhoods. The Mutual Aid work includes providing food and hand sanitizer to the unsheltered and emergency financial assistance and political education to young people. This grant will enable this work to continue for the next three months.   

 

Grants from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery 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. 

The Fund created an application process for nonprofits across the region to explain their grant needs and indicate how the Fund could help. Open from April 6 – 10, more than 650 nonprofit organizations requested funding through this period, indicative of the significant impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on our region. 

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. As of today, commitments have been secured from  the Coca-Cola Company, Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, each donating $5 million to the Fund in support. Other current funders include the City of Atlanta, The Goizueta Foundation, The Klump Family Foundation and Truist Foundation, contributing $1 million each. A complete list of corporate, foundation and individual donors to the Fund can be found here.  

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.

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, updates will be posted on both the Community Foundation’s website and United Way’s website. Nonprofits as well as community members can share information on local needs through a digital listening tool on United Way’s website. The next round of grants will be announced in early May. 

The Community Foundation will continue to update details for donors and nonprofits through its blog and via social media via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. To view updates from United Way of Greater Atlanta, click here or follow on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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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

ATLANTA – April 14, 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 announced the Fund’s fourth round of grants. Nearly $1.8 million will distribute to 18 organizations for emergency response. A grand total of more than $10.5 million from the Fund has been mobilized to benefit 62 nonprofits to date. Grants made in the earlier rounds are detailed on both the Community Foundation’s website and United Way’s website

 

Today’s grant recipients from the fourth round and their grant amounts, are: 

  • 100 Black Men of America ($25,000) In response to the COVID-19 crisis, 100 Black Men of America plans to provide computers and internet access to 500 Clayton County students in grades K-12. Additionally, it will host virtual town hall meetings bringing together faith, financial, medical and political leaders and experts with experience working in African American communities to give community members the opportunity to discuss the physical, emotional and economic impacts of the crisis, and to share accurate and up to date information about the pandemic in metro Atlanta. The grant will supplement costs for these activities for the next 90 days.

 

  • Action Ministries ($100,000) Action Ministries mobilizes communities to address the challenges of poverty by focusing on hunger relief, housing and education. In response to COVID-19, Action Ministries has expanded its child feeding programs and has added new prevention and housing services to those directly impacted by COVID-19. This grant has the potential to reduce the number of children that will be facing food insecurity in the coming weeks and can provide financial assistance to prevent homelessness. 

 

  • Atlanta Children’s Shelter ($50,000) Atlanta Children’s Shelter (ACS) supports families living in poverty in the metro Atlanta area who are facing or experiencing homelessness. Ninety-five percent of the families ACS serves are low or moderate income, and more than one third of the families they served last year were homeless due to domestic violence. Homeless and at-risk families have higher rates of chronic diseases than the rest of the population, tend to rely on services that make it harder to practice social distancing, and have a harder time accessing food and hygiene items. The grant will cover the costs of emergency rent and utility assistance, food, cleaning and disinfecting supplies, MARTA cards and mental health counseling provided to homeless, at-risk and recently housed families. 

 

  • Atlanta Police Department Foundation (APD Foundation) ($150,000) The APD Foundation is facing added costs from COVID-19 in order to allow the city’s first responders (APD, Fire/Rescue and related City employees) to carry out their respective duties safely and hygienically. The APD Foundation has received financial support from many corporate and private funders. This grant will fulfill the estimated remaining costs around their response, which includes testing and monitoring the health of first responders and frontline medical staff, access to personal protective equipment as well as increased demand for food and programming at the Westside At-Promise Youth and Community Center.

 

  • Atlanta Regional Commission ($95,000) As the Area Agency on Aging for the 10-county metro Atlanta region, Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) issues notifications of funding availability for both the Federal Older Americans Act and state funds to provide direct services to older adults in the region. These are essential services including home delivered meals and congregate meals. ARC is working closely with its providers to find solutions to delivery challenges in the current climate and develop weekly communication channels with its most vulnerable clients. ARC also operates the Aging and Disability Resource Connection through which individuals speak with information and referral specialists about their needs. The grant will support one month of meal delivery for 625 seniors.

 

  • Catholic Charities Atlanta ($100,000) Catholic Charities Atlanta provides a holistic combination of social services to help individuals overcome barriers and achieve self-sufficiency. In response to COVID-19, it has transitioned to provide case management and emergency financial management services virtually. The organization is doing no-contact deliveries to get clients much-needed food and other supplies and has been disseminating language-appropriate resources to clients as well as helping clients apply for public benefits over the phone. It serves low-income families of all backgrounds, including immigrants (mostly Latinx), refugees, veterans and families involved with the Division of Family and Children Services. The grant will help cover the cost of rent and mortgage assistance and additional personnel, technology and supply costs to deliver their services.

 

  • Center for Family Resources ($150,000) Center for Family Resources (CFR) serves Cobb county families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless through financial assistance, education and case management services. CFR has also been providing food through the emergency food distribution sites operating throughout Cobb county. Since the state of emergency was declared, CFR has created a new fund for emergency rental, housing, hotel and utility assistance. The grant will supplement this fund to assist those at risk of losing their current housing because of an inability to pay.

 

  • Community Assistance Resources and Emergency Services (CARES) ($20,000) CARES serves Pickens county and provides food and essential non-food items, temporary financial assistance, supplemental financing for education and counseling for those in need. CARES is providing boxes of food for families for curbside pick-up once per week. At this time, anyone who is in need receives food. For people who are not able to leave their homes, deputies with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department are delivering food directly. The grant will support the cost of increased food and services currently needed.

 

  • Easter Seals North Georgia ($125,000) Easter Seals North Georgia (ESNG) focuses on strengthening children and families at the most critical times in a child’s development to ensure that all children have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities. ESNG serves 5,000 children and their families, 71 percent of children served are living in poverty and 60 percent have a disability. ESNG had to close their 13 early education sites during the pandemic and is providing individualized, virtual learning to families they support. This grant will supplement federal and state funding to provide support and resources to families in the areas of childcare, food insecurity, healthcare, telehealth and early intervention to 2,500 children, providing individualized learning to 1,500 children and connecting families to local resources for critical needs during this time.

 

  • Georgia Foundation for Early Care and Learning ($250,000) As the nonprofit arm of the Georgia Department for Early Care and Learning (DECAL), the Georgia Foundation for Early Care and Learning is providing direct assistance to the network of childcare providers and the families they serve by addressing two critical needs: childcare coverage for essential workers and financial assistance for child care providers. Essential workers are scrambling to find childcare during the crisis and many are not equipped to pay the cost, so this grant will help the organization provide additional child and parent services scholarships. The grant will also enable one-time incentive payments to both open and closed childcare programs to help cover staff costs and purchase necessary supplies.

 

  • Helping Mamas ($75,000) Helping Mamas is the baby supply bank for metro Atlanta and much of north Georgia, providing diapers, wipes, formula, other baby supplies, and hygienic and health supplies to local nonprofits that distribute them directly to families. Helping Mamas has seen a drastic increase in the demand for their services and are currently distributing nearly 15,000 diapers a day, including to new partners like Communities in Schools of Atlanta, DFCS offices, Sheltering Arms and the YMCA. Grant funding will help the organization meet this heightened demand and increased staff support required to respond to the need.

 

  • Housing Justice League ($40,000) Housing Justice League works with renters and homeowners to self-organize and defend their right to remain in their homes and neighborhoods, primarily in the Peoplestown neighborhood in Atlanta. Its COVID-19 response includes ensuring low-wealth residents are receiving timely, accurate and useful information about the pandemic and how to report dangerous landlord behavior through a COVID-19 Hotline. Through the Hotline residents can get updates on housing policy changes, access community resources and receive tenant organizing advice and assistance. Assistance is available in multiple languages. The grant will cover the cost of additional capacity for the COVID-19 Hotline.

 

  • Jewish Family and Career Services ($200,000) In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization has implemented telehealth and alternate options for critical services and has expanded emergency assistance services. For all clinical services, including mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, support groups and assistance for domestic violence victims and survivors, individual and group sessions are available through telehealth phone sessions or via video conference. Emergency assistance services being provided include financial health and food for those with increased needs due to job losses, increased medical costs or childcare expenses. Based on current call volume, the organization could provide $716,250 in emergency financial assistance in 90 days, as well as $50,000-$100,000 in food costs. The grant will help support these increased costs.

 

  • Just People ($100,000) Just People has had to cancel all social events, suspend their day program, close administrative offices and cut staff salaries. All non-critical medical appointments have been postponed while therapy and psychiatric appointments have transitioned to online or phone appointments. To date, 32 of Just People’s clients – live-in adults with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries and mental illnesses – have been laid off or fired from their jobs, making it impossible for them to pay their rent and utilities or purchase food. Just People has created a “store” for clients to shop (at no cost) for toiletries, frozen and canned food, snacks, drinks and staples like bread, milk and fruit. This grant will address the increased need for rent and utilities support. 

 

  • Literacy for All ($60,000) Literacy for All (LFA) connects the Georgia literacy community to innovate, champion and fund multi-generational literacy opportunities. Many low-income families around the state do not have internet service needed for their children to actively engage in online learning and continue their education consistently during this crisis. LFA started an Emergency Connectivity Initiative, partnering with the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, the Georgia Public Library Service and other organizations to address this urgent need. This grant will allow matching funds for LFA to purchase approximately 1,000 Wi-Fi devices with coverage plans to support families in need through the next 60 days.

 

  • National Church Residences Foundation (NCR) ($95,000) NCR provides high-quality care, services and residential communities for seniors. The organization’s topmost priority is to ensure the basic care needs of its senior residents are met. For the 1,465 Atlanta residents served, NCR is guaranteeing residents have food, paper products and cleaning supplies. NCR will also partner with Fulton County Senior Services to use its Big Bethel Village commercial kitchen as a food preparation and delivery hub to deliver over 300 meals to greater Atlanta seniors to three communities (one meal per day). In order to do so, the kitchen must be completely cleaned and disinfected to meet food safety standards and repairs need to be made to the existing commercial refrigerator and freezer for food storage, and the grant will support these added costs.

 

  • Real Life Center ($100,000) Real Life Center provides a safe place for people from all walks of life going through these tough times to access resources that create stability and strengthen families and our community. In response to COVID-19, Real Life Center is offering emergency food assistance to anyone in need in Coweta and Fayette counties, offering pre-bagged uncooked meals with enough food for a week, including produce and meats. The organization is currently serving 250 families a week, which is double the number of families it typically serves this time of year and expected to rise. This grant will support food supplies and distribution for approximately six weeks. 

 

  • Single Parent Alliance and Resource Center ($50,000) Single Parent Alliance and Resource Center (SPARC) was founded by an African American single mother to work with single parents to provide the necessary tools, resources and support to create a healthy and nurturing home environment. SPARC is a placed-based agency that works directly in the apartment complexes in which their clients live. Since the COVID-19 outbreak SPARC has called over 100 single parents to assess their immediate needs. This grant will help provide emergency food as well as financial support to prevent eviction and utility shut off for single parent families, 90 percent of whom are parents of color.

 

Grants from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery 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. 

 

The Fund created an application process for nonprofits across the region to explain their grant needs and indicate how the Fund could help. Open from April 6 – 10, more than 650 nonprofit organizations requested funding through this period, indicative of the significant impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on our region. Grant announcements from the applications received will be made the week of April 27. 

 

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. As of today, commitments have been secured from  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, The Goizueta Foundation, The Klump Family Foundation and Truist Foundation, contributing $1 million each, Gas South, Global Payments and Wells Fargo contributing $250,000 each, the Sara Giles Moore Foundation contributing $100,000, Holder Construction Company, The Primerica Foundation and Regions Bank contributing $50,000 each, Anthem, the Betty and Davis Fitzgerald Foundation, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, KPMG, RSUI Indemnity Company, Scana Energy and The Vasser Wooley Foundation, Inc., contributing $25,000 each, and $25,000 jointly from 11Alive and the TEGNA Foundation

 

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.

 

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, updates will be posted on both the Community Foundation’s website and United Way’s website. Nonprofits as well as community members can share information on local needs through a digital listening tool on United Way’s website. The next round of grants will be announced the week of April 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. To view updates from United Way of Greater Atlanta, click here or follow on 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