Months ago, COVID-19 put a finer point on the historical inequities that are pervasive in our country and in Central Texas’ most vulnerable communities – including vast differences in health status, health access and the distribution of health resources based on age, race, gender or geography. The racially motivated deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, among other cases of race-based violence and harassment, have set in motion an even greater movement in the U.S. and across the world. The heavy and difficult days faced by our community have served as an awakening for some, and a reminder for others, of the injustice all around us. The reality of societal injustice comes with a long legacy of pain, frustration, fear, anxiety, and sadness.
Our work at the Foundation is centered around the people we support. Our hearts are with our communities as we work through the events that are unfolding in front of us each day. We are using this time of awakening – set amidst the backdrop of the ongoing and evolving coronavirus pandemic – to listen, learn, and innovate as we continue to embed equity and inclusion into the core of how we work alongside our communities. This also means gaining a better understanding of and removing the very barriers that perpetuate racism and create systemic, unjust disparities for people of color.
We at St. David’s Foundation are exceptionally grateful to all who are working tirelessly to serve those in need during this unprecedented time. Now more than ever, the work of nonprofits is vital for the survival of our most vulnerable neighbors and for an even greater focus on equity in the days ahead. We express our sincerest thanks to those who are providing emergency and ongoing assistance, as well as critical resources to many within our Central Texas community.
To support organizations in continuing the important work they do, St. David’s Foundation launched a $10 million COVID-19 Recovery Fund: Lifting up Central Texas Today and Tomorrow, to support Central Texas nonprofits impacted by and serving those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In response, we received more than 300 applications for the first phase of funding, stressing the significant and growing need within our region.
Today, we share the grant recipients of the first phase of COVID-19 Recovery Funding and invite you to learn more about their important work. Of the organizations receiving the $3.5 million in total grants, 66% represent new relationships for the Foundation and reflect our commitment to raise up nonprofits that are often overlooked by philanthropy, such as grassroots organizations and those in rural communities.
We ensured that equity guided our funding decisions and that organizations receiving funding were reflective of the diversity found in the applicant pool and in our Central Texas region – specifically communities most severely and disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The Foundation created a robust review process – including the creation of an Equity Committee – that reflected gender, race, ethnic, age and job function diversity to review eligible applications and ensure that funding decisions were made with an equity lens. For example, 29% of all applications received were from organizations led by people of color and, among the final cohort of grant recipients, this increased to 36%.
Since announcing the COVID-19 Recovery Fund, our team has worked closely with community partners to listen and learn. We can all agree that not only are we in uncharted territory, we are also working to address a long-term crisis, which we are only really beginning to understand. We recognize that this pandemic is exposing and compounding pre-existing inequities that manifest in all aspects of life – from access to groceries to timely healthcare and other essential services. We appreciate the need to return to “normal” – and yet – for far too many in our community, “normal” reflects inadequate and inequitable access to basic healthcare and resources.
This public health crisis and the global movement to end systemic racism have created an extraordinary moment to call for greater and more equitable access for all within our Central Texas community. We are committed to partnering with others who want to make a positive difference moving forward. More than ever, St. David’s Foundation is strategically focused on the health and well-being of our community. The work supported through our COVID-19 Recovery Fund is grounded in providing immediate and intermediate support to our region’s most vulnerable populations – those who have been affected first and hardest by this pandemic.
Across all of the Foundation’s goals and principles, we are guided by a commitment to achieve health equity. This requires the prioritization of available assets to those most in need in order to help remove barriers and provide relief where vital resources may be lacking. We remain committed to listening, learning, and adapting our ways of working based on the ever-evolving needs of the community. Together, we stand strong as a community as we lift up Central Texas today and tomorrow and look ahead toward recovery and rebuilding.
Submissions for the next phase of funding will be accepted beginning July 20, 2020, and are due on August 13, 2020, by 3 p.m. CT. Priorities and eligibility details will be available when the application opens. For information and updates regarding the St. David’s Foundation COVID-19 Recovery Fund, please visit here.