COVID-19 News Digest: July 2020

This month’s selection of thought-provoking readings and resources that we’ve found useful for navigating the philanthropic response to the coronavirus pandemic:

SF Public Schools COVID-19 Response Fund Impact Report | A glossy report (dated July) on SFUSD’s Response and Recovery Fund. The main topics covered are distance learning, free meals program and the district’s summer and fall plans. “…approximately 13,000 3rd-12th grade students lacked access to a dedicated digital device at home. That’s nearly 25% of all SFUSD students. 99% of Chromebook requests were fulfilled.”

The Vaccine Trust Problem | If you’ve been in any conversations lately where you or someone you know has whispered “I don’t know if I would feel safe getting the vaccine”, then listen to this New York Times podcast (or read the transcript if you prefer) on why developing a coronavirus vaccine may be easier than persuading people to get it. “So if you think you have someone in mind who you think is the archetype of someone who opposes vaccines, you absolutely do not. It crosses racial lines. It crosses socioeconomic backgrounds, educational backgrounds. It crosses political affiliation.”

Latinx Economic Resilience During and After COVID |A blog post from New America CA recapping a webinar where latinx leaders outline an equity agenda for the tumultuous times we are in.“We have the opportunity to reimagine our systems and reset our social constructs — in everything from universal healthcare to universal basic income to universal high speed broadband — to create an inclusive innovation economy. We owe it to our next generation of talent, which is majority Black and Latinx, to help change the current course.”

Trump Administration Strips C.D.C. of Control of Coronavirus Data | A NY Times article reporting that hospitals have been ordered to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all patient information to a central database in Washington, raising questions about transparency. “The new instructions were posted recently in a little-noticed document on the Department of Health and Human Services website. From now on, the department — not the C.D.C. — will collect daily reports about the patients that each hospital is treating, the number of available beds and ventilators, and other information vital to tracking the pandemic.”

And the response from previous CDC directors is here.

A Gates-Led Effort to Bolster Nonprofits Points Donors and Volunteers to Local Needs |An Inside Philanthropy article summarizing the Gates Foundation’s COVID-19 response. “…the Gates Foundation is providing $725,000 in general operating grant support to groups advocating for policies and programs that benefit the nonprofit community, including the Independent Sector, the National Council of Nonprofits, the Council on Foundations, Philanthropy Roundtable and United Philanthropy Forum. The foundation further allocated another $9.1 million to the United Philanthropy Forum, which will then regrant $8.5 million through its Momentum Fund. The Momentum Fund will provide general operating support grants of up to $100,000 to managers of COVID-19 emergency funds across the country.”

20 Million Renters Are at Risk of Eviction; Policymakers Must Act Now to Mitigate Widespread Hardship | A comprehensive piece summarizing the risk of mass evictions across the country, the disproportionate impact on Black, Latinx, disabled, formerly incarcerated, undocumented, and LGBTQ communities, and solutions at the federal, state and local levels. “Many states, counties, and cities have already established short-term emergency rental assistance programs, ranging from one-time infusions of a few hundred dollars to fully covering two months of rent. Foundations and nonprofits have also created emergency funds for renters. They could be important partners in a time of falling government revenues and rising expenses.”

Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund Update | The Latest update (June 26) on San Francisco’s Response and Recovery Fund. Please note that this update includes the planned allocation of nearly all of the $28.3M in donations. “Of $28,194,000 that has been allocated, $18,310,000 is for programs operated by the Human Services Agency, Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, Office of Early Care and Education, or Office of Economic and Workforce Development…$9,884,000 will be transferred to nonprofit organization partners from the San Francisco Foundation with city oversight.”

Philanthropy Rises in Pandemic as Donors Heed the Call for Help | A New York Times article by Paul Sullivan summarizing two reports which show that giving has surged during the pandemic, surpassing donations during the 2008 recession and after 9/11. “Grants to food banks and other food assistance programs were up 667 percent nationally, including more than 800 percent in the Mid-Atlantic. At the same time, donors continued to give to their local and other regular charities, according to the report, which tallied 750,000 transactions to more than 100,000 charities.”