As we enter the most critical time for COVID-19 in the United States and around the world, we know that philanthropy has a critical responsibility to leverage its flexible funding ability to protect the most vulnerable communities around the world.

To that end, today we are announcing $10 million in additional funding toward relief efforts and support for vulnerable communities impacted by COVID-19 here in our community, and abroad.

Of the $10 million, about half will go toward protecting the homeless population in Los Angeles, with the other half focused on helping African countries prepare for a pending outbreak. Below is an overview of the recently awarded grants:

Los Angeles-Focused Grants

In the midst of the COVID-19 public health crisis, individuals experiencing homelessness are especially vulnerable. To address the urgent needs facing the homeless population in Los Angeles, we’ve made grants to the following organizations.

·  Brilliant Corners is receiving $2,250,000 in support of a partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Our grant will provide flexible funding for Brilliant Corners to immediately purchase essential supplies and cover expenses related to developing and implementing a COVID-19 response plan to care for individuals experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County.

·  California Community Foundation is receiving $500,000 and funding will be used to immediately purchase essential supplies and cover expenses at six of LA County’s federally qualified health clinics, which have a special designation to serve clients who are unhoused. These clinics are now responding to increased patient flow, and funding from the Foundation will also help in triaging those experiencing homelessness who are sick, exposed, or in need of testing to the appropriate temporary housing intervention.

·  United Way of Greater Los Angeles will receive $2,250,000 for its Pandemic Relief Fund. United Way is playing a key role in helping to coordinate bulk purchasing of supplies and will also release funding through strategic sub-grants directly to providers. Many nonprofit partners are experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer, thermometers and testing kits.

Africa-Focused Grants

Throughout Africa, countries are bracing for community transmission of the coronavirus. If the virus spreads to densely populated areas, including informal settlements, with limited access to sanitation and health care services, the results could be especially devastating. The following three grants aim to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the African region.

·  Shining Hope for Communities, Inc. (SHOFCO), a Hilton Humanitarian Prize laureate,is receiving $500,000 to support outreach initiatives and establish a trusted information source to enable the implementation of Kenya’s COVID-19 response plan within four of the largest informal settlements in Kenya: Kibera, Mathare and Mukuru (in Nairobi), and Bangladesh (in Mombasa).   

The following two organizations are collaboratively leading and supporting efforts as part of a plan agreed upon at an emergency meeting convened by the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa earlier this month. The cooperative program is designed to improve continent-wide coordination on COVID-19 preparedness and response. Together, these two organizations will use the funds from our grants to support a total of twelve countries.

·  The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa (in partnership with the King Baudouin Foundation United States) is receiving $3,000,000 to strengthen the capacity of health systems in nine high-risk countries to respond to COVID-19 cases: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Senegal and South Africa.

·  The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is receiving $1,500,000 to strengthen risk communication and community engagement capacity of four high-risk countries in East Africa to respond to COVID-19: Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

It is our collective responsibility in philanthropy to continue to stay vigilant and focus on continuing to identify ways we can be nimble and responsive with our funding, and learn from our experiences in real time, both locally and abroad.

We will get through this by working together.