Published July 17, 2020
Application period opened on Monday, July 20 with a focus on proposals seeking to address behavioral and mental health, basic needs, childcare and health care priorities
What began as a new decade full of promise quickly became one of the most challenging years in recent history. Both the coronavirus pandemic and the recent race-related violence and murders have uncovered historical and structural inequities, which have captured the attention of our nation – with change beginning to manifest. And while momentum has begun, it is critical that we remain steadfast in our commitment to eliminate racism and social injustice today to more greatly impact tomorrow.
When St. David’s Foundation created the COVID-19 Recovery Fund in April, we never could have imagined the pandemic’s impact on Central Texas. Nearly five months later, there continue to be sustained reports of the virus’ spread, causing even greater alarm and need across the region – particularly within communities who are being disproportionately impacted.
As cases increase and more data becomes available, a clearer and more complete picture is being revealed: Black and Latino people are being disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a manner that spans the country. According to new data from the CDC, Latino and Black people living in the U.S. have been three times as likely to become infected as their white neighbors and are nearly twice as likely to die from the virus as white people. This is true of populations across both urban and rural America – demonstrating the virus’ widespread impact across state lines and regions and reinforcing the need for more equitable access to health care services and testing.1
Therefore, St. David’s Foundation opened a second phase of applications for COVID-19 Recovery funding on Monday, July 20 and prioritize funding for populations who are inequitably bearing the brunt of this crisis. These populations include people of color; refugees and immigrants (regardless of legal status); people experiencing homelessness; people living with disabilities; and LGBTQ communities.
While we have yet to realize the full impact of COVID-19, the Foundation is committed to adapting our recovery strategy and identifying areas where critical resources are most lacking. Based on community feedback, listening and learning from local leadership and synthesizing data from trusted resources, we’ve heard an outpouring of need related to four key priorities: behavioral health and emotional well-being, basic needs, childcare and access to health care services.
1. Behavioral Health and Emotional Well-Being: According to a briefing by Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, the pandemic, along with the economic impact of mitigation efforts imposed to control it, are expected to increase the rate of mental health and substance use disorders, including deaths associated with suicide, overdose and violence (especially intimate partner violence and child abuse).
2. Basic Needs: As families cope with new financial challenges, our partners have shared ongoing stories of serious material hardships, including the inability to pay rent, mortgage or utility bills, as well as experiencing food insecurity and forgoing medical care because of the cost.
3. Childcare: Childcare is critical for recovery. Adequate and affordable childcare is needed to allow parents to resume work, families to manage stress and children to acquire necessary social, emotional and cognitive skills. These stressors will only continue as parents grapple with the choice of remote or in-person classes this fall.
4. Access to Health Care Services: Many low-income and/or uninsured individuals in our community receive crucial health care services from nonprofit organizations. Health care nonprofits have been required to quickly transition to continue to provide services to their patients in need, including implementing new infectious disease protocols as well as other shifts.
As a result, these categories are the main funding priorities for Phase II of the St. David’s Foundation COVID-19 Recovery Fund. The Foundation remains committed to listening, learning and adapting our ways of working based on the ever-evolving needs of the community during this health and financial crisis. As we learn of other emergent issues, we will continue to be as flexible as possible to meet the complex and urgent needs of the community.
Through all our efforts, St. David’s Foundation is guided by our commitment to achieve health equity and believes this challenging time calls on us all to look deeply at the structural, implicit bias and racism that impedes health outcomes. The Foundation will continue prioritizing assets and evaluating processes to help remove barriers and provide relief where vital resources may be lacking. As with Phase I, the Foundation’s Equity Committee will serve as part of the review process to ensure that Phase II priorities and processes result in funding that supports communities experiencing the most disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is of utmost importance as we strive for a more equitable future for our Central Texas neighbors.
The application for Phase II of the COVID-19 Recovery Fund opened on July 20, and can be found here. Details regarding funding priorities, application questions and eligibility can be found here. Please note, the deadline for applications is August 13, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. CST.