Covid-19 Response Initiative Awards Grants to Provide Immediate Relief

Together with its donors and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation has awarded over $2.7 million in direct grants to nonprofit organizations for COVID-19 relief.

That total includes more than $1.1 million funded from the COVID-19 Response Initiative, a joint initiative of Gulf Coast and Barancik Foundation to support immediate and long-term needs in the region arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Grants awarded in the past two weeks are funding services including virtual mental-health counseling for children and for veterans, childcare for first responders, and food and financial assistance for displaced hospitality workers, foster families, and others.

The foundations continue working closely with these and other lead safety-net agencies to prepare for a wave of cascading needs yet to emerge from the crisis. Additionally, donors to Gulf Coast have directed nearly $1 million in grants from their donor funds at the foundation for COVID-19 impacts locally and beyond.

“These grants—and many more we have in the pipeline—are what I call ‘quick hits,’” said Teri A Hansen, president and CEO of Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. “They give some of our strongest nonprofit partners what they need right now to continue their critical work, even as their own staffs and revenues are affected. We will continue working with them to prepare for the intermediate and long-term challenges yet to come.”

At Harvest House, for example, which provides supportive housing for hundreds of Sarasota County residents overcoming homelessness or addiction, dozens of clients lost jobs or had work hours slashed in a matter of days. A grant to buy laptop computers for staff is allowing case managers to continue counseling vulnerable residents remotely, while their desktop computers have been repurposed for safe use by those same clients for job searching and other needs.

CenterPlace Health, which offers primary healthcare to Medicaid patients, received funds to quickly transition to a telehealth model. “Telehealth will allow us to continue providing care to all of our patients—especially our pregnant moms and babies,” said Melissa Parker, president and CEO of CenterPlace Health, which cares mostly for women and children. As the healthcare provider of last resort in the county, CenterPlace also serves many patients with multiple chronic conditions, who are especially susceptible to COVID-19.

A grant to SKY Family YMCA has enabled it to offer professional childcare to emergency responders and other essential healthcare personnel. These front-line workers have seen demand for their services increase at the same time that school closures leave them with no safe place for their children during the day.

“Right now, we are seeing unemployment spike as thousands of hard-working, low-income residents lose their jobs and face losing their homes,” said Mark Pritchett, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “Our first responders and healthcare workers and their families are straining under the pressure of this pandemic. Our initiative aims to be both nimble and strategic, easing pressures now while also weaving a stronger safety net for the more systemic issues our region will face.”

Pritchett noted that the foundations modified their grant processes so staff can more quickly receive, review, and assess funding requests. The ability to turn around grants quickly, sometimes in less than 24 hours, enables them to meet needs in real time.

Health care and mental health

Tidewell Hospice – $100,000 to support additional staffing and medical supplies amid a surge in need for in-home care as area hospitals must manage their bed capacity

Easterseals Southwest Florida  $25,000 to continue therapy for children with autism and developmental disabilities through telehealth delivery until one-on-one contact is safe again
 
First Step of Sarasota  $11,800 to deep-clean residential facilities for its most high-risk individuals in substance-abuse recovery. Facilities prioritized for cleaning include high-touch, high-traffic clinical and therapeutic areas for crisis-stabilization, jail-diversion, and high-risk adolescent programs.

First Step of Sarasota – $26,000 to buy laptop computers for telemedicine services, so staff can remain safe and work remotely while still serving clients

CenterPlace Health – $20,000 for software and equipment to provide telehealth services, so it can conduct virtual clinic visits with clients who experience symptoms or live in outbreak areas

Multicultural Health Institute – $5,000 to expand its outreach to vulnerable populations most at-risk for COVID-19

Florida Center for Early Childhood – $25,000 to provide much-needed mental health resources for vulnerable young children and their families not fully covered by Medicaid or other insurance providers

Tri-County Counseling and Life Skills Center – $15,000 to cover fees for mental-health and substance-abuse counseling for low-income clients in North Port

Tidewell Hospice – $10,000 for medical supplies and additional staffing to serve the surge of patients in the region

Family Network on Disabilities – $5,000 to provide relief for caregivers of children with disabilities through virtual respite care

Good Samaritan Pharmacy & Health Services – $4,000 to meet increased demand for prescription medications while adhering to CDC guidelines

Operation Warrior Resolution – $3,200 to provide telehealth counseling to Sarasota-area veterans and their families

Jobs and financial security

Goodwill Manasota – $33,700 to hire back five GoodPartner Coaches, who will provide counseling and assistance connecting with available services to more than 330 Sarasota-area team members who were furloughed because of the pandemic

CareerEdge – $20,000 to support displaced workers in Sarasota and Manatee counties. This grant was funded by a $10,000 gift from the Truist Charitable Fund, matched by $10,000 from our COVID-19 Response Initiative Fund.

CareerSource Suncoast – $20,000 to support displaced workers in Sarasota and Manatee counties. This grant was funded by a $10,000 gift from the Truist Charitable Fund, matched by $10,000 from our COVID-19 Response Initiative Fund.

Women’s Resource Center – $21,500 to provide women critical counseling sessions and social support through enhanced telecommunications

Gulfcoast Legal Services – $1,000 to support software to securely transmit sensitive client data via email as more of its work is done virtually

Capital Good Fund – $30,000 to launch a new Crisis Relief Loan program that provides residents on the economic edge with a flexible, low-interest alternative to predatory lending. This grant was funded from Gulf Coast’s Financial Sustainability Initiative.

Women’s Resource Center – $5,000 to assist hospitality-industry workers who have lost jobs or wages

The Salvation Army of Sarasota – $20,000 to reemploy furloughed staff so the agency can meet increased demand for its services across Sarasota County

Basic needs

Meals on Wheels of Sarasota – $75,000 to provide hunger-relief services to clients as they experience increased demand due to the pandemic

All Faiths Food Bank – $40,000 to provide hunger-relief services in Sarasota County. This grant was funded by a $20,000 gift from the Truist Charitable Fund, matched by $20,000 from our COVID-19 Response Initiative Fund.

All Faiths Food Bank – $110,000 to address increased demand for food in Sarasota and DeSoto counties due to the pandemic. This grant was funded by an $85,000 gift from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, matched by $25,000 from our COVID-19 Response Initiative Fund.

Harvest House – $50,000 to help meet the immediate needs of clients, including increased demand at its community food pantry

Harvest House – $4,650 to buy laptop computers so staff can transition to remote work and reconfigure their desktop PCs for safe use by Harvest House residents for job searches and other needs

SPARCC (Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center) – $10,700 to deep clean its shelter facility, supply food for clients, offer virtual therapy, and provide hazard pay for shelter staff

The Salvation Army – Sarasota Area Command – $650 to provide emergency assistance to North Port residents

New College Foundation – $28,600 to meet the basic needs of students who remain in residence because they have nowhere else safe to stay and to help other students who evacuated safeguard their belongings. Students who remain in residence are either homeless, would be unsafe if they returned home, or are internationals who cannot repatriate.

Family Promise of South Sarasota County – $25,000 to provide rental assistance for low-income families with children in southern Sarasota County

HOPE for North Port – $500 to support food pantry assistance for the elderly, medically fragile, and families with children. This grant was funded from the Anna V. Pfister, Nellie Mae Koss, and Helen K. Hadden Memorial Endowment Fund.

UnidosNow – $10,000 to provide culturally competent case management to Spanish-speaking individuals and families who need critical services and resources

Laurel Civic Association – $10,000 to aid displaced, low-income workers and their families through rental/mortgage assistance, utility assistance, and supplemental access to food

All Faiths Food Bank – $7,000 to distribute meals to furloughed restaurant workers

The TWIG Cares – $2,500 to provide “TwigBoxes” filled with personal-care items, gift cards, and other support for young adults who have aged out of foster care

Education and Childcare

Early Learning Coalition of Florida’s Heartland – $24,500 to provide virtual home visitation to mothers and grandmothers to address their children’s developmental concerns

Children First – $50,000 to support staff, children, and their families in Sarasota County during the pandemic. This grant includes $10,000 from the Truist Charitable Fund, matched by our COVID-19 Initiative Response Fund.

Education Foundation of Sarasota County – $20,000 to support the foundation’s services to Sarasota County Schools during the pandemic. Funded by $10,000 from the Truist Charitable Fund, matched by our COVID-19 Response Initiative Fund.

Suncoast Technical College – $4,000 to produce personal protective equipment on 3D printers for use by local healthcare providers

First Responders

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County  $40,000 to meet the dire childcare needs of parents and guardians at the front line defending our community’s health and safety. The new First Responder Program offers free childcare for first responders employed by Sarasota County Fire Department, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and Sarasota Police Department

SKY Family YMCA – $50,000 to provide childcare to essential healthcare and emergency response workers on the front lines of containing and treating COVID-19 in our region.

Denise Amber Lee Foundation  $10,000 to ensure that 9-1-1 centers can continue to meet continuing education and training mandates for public-safety personnel by supporting the foundation’s transition to virtual training classes

SKY Family YMCA – $75,000 to continue offering childcare services and educational programs for children of essential employees, first responders, and healthcare providers

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County – $80,000 to provide childcare for essential healthcare and emergency response workers

Youth services

Teen Court of Sarasota – $10,000 to maintain support of students and their families during the pandemic through opportunities including virtual jury duty and community service, increased counseling, and help with other unexpected needs

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast  $12,700 to help meet the social and emotional needs of children during this crisis by supporting technology to connect staff with children, their families, and mentoring volunteers

Safe Children Coalition – $17,800 to help provide every foster family in the 12th Judicial Circuit with a $100 gift card to assist with unplanned needs