In 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are focused on supporting frontline organizations to promote health and wellness to underserved communities. This spring, we released an additional $100,000 in COVID Emergency Funds to local, grassroots organizations that serve the growing number of uninsured patients, those suffering from mental health issues, and families struggling to put food on the table. For the coming months, in addition to providing financial resources, we will focus on assisting with vaccine education and rollout, especially to vulnerable community members and those outside the healthcare system.
Our 2021 Emergency Fund grantees are:
- La Familia Sana, a new grassroots organization whose mission is to provide health and wellness through education, direct support, and advocacy to underserved Latinx and Indigenous communities, particularly in northern Sonoma County. This group has been doing on-the-ground education to farmworkers about COVID prevention, vaccine safety, and how and where to get the vaccine.
- Latino Service Providers serves as a bridge to resources in the Latinx community of Sonoma County by mobilizing a mutual aid network during disasters to provide food, basic necessities, and financial assistance to those most in need. Since COVID-19, demand has increased dramatically.
- Alliance Medical Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with clinics in both Healdsburg and Windsor. Since mid-February, they have helped vaccinate close to 5,000 eligible North County residents including agricultural workers and eligible seniors. As tiers allow, Alliance has added educators and restaurant workers, vaccinating a total of 400 to 500 people per day when vaccine supply is available.
- Alexander Valley Healthcare (AVH), another FQHC based in Cloverdale. AVH has vaccinated approximately 5,000 eligible residents (including a large percentage of local farmworkers) at its weekly drive-through clinics since early February.
- Corazón Healdsburg, which seeks to strengthen the Northern Sonoma County community by bridging racial, cultural, and economic divides, and has been working in cooperation with Alliance Medical Centers to perform vaccine outreach, education and registration to over 9,000 people since mid-February. The group’s efforts have resulted in 3,000 vaccine appointments, and Corazon continues to focus on vaccine equity.
- Reach for Home, a Healdsburg-based nonprofit with the goal of ending homelessness in Sonoma County, provides street outreach and medicine, rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, COVID and vaccine outreach and education.
- YWCA Sonoma County is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace. The local organization’s overarching goal is to end domestic violence (DV) in Sonoma County, which unfortunately rose sharply during shelter-in-place. The YWCA provides Sonoma County’s only confidential safe house and therapeutic pre-school, DV-specialized mental health and advocacy services.
- Farm to Pantry, whose mission is to end food waste and hunger by gleaning excess produce, has continued to deliver many tons of fresh produce every week to those in the community facing food insecurity, in spite of pandemic-related drop in volunteers and increased staff costs.
- Farm to Fight Hunger, an organization that grows vegetables and produces pasture-raised eggs for donation to those in need of food in Sonoma County, serves predominantly Latinx and low-income community members.
- Food for Thought, which aims to foster health and healing with food and compassion, launched a program to serve low-income Sonoma County residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Unrestricted gifts give us the flexibility to respond quickly to the areas of greatest need.
For detailed information on our 2020 grantees, check out our annual report.
HEALTH ACCESS: COVID-19 EMERGENCY HEALTHCARE FUND
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020 we launched the Emergency Healthcare Fund to provide unrestricted, rapid assistance to stabilize critical health and human service providers working with our most vulnerable community members. The target populations for these funds include the Latinx community, essential and low-income workers and their families, and people experiencing food insecurity and homelessness.
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, in August 2020 we had awarded $140,000 in Emergency Grants to local organizations in support of direct medical, mental health and food security services. An additional $100,000 in Emergency Fund grants will be released in March of 2021.
- $80,000 to Alliance Medical Centers (Healdsburg and Windsor), a key safety net medical provider that treated 12,329 unduplicated patients in 2019, 70% Latinx, and has seen a dramatic rise in uninsured patients since COVID-19. Funds were used to purchase telemedicine equipment, to perform targeted outreach to high-risk patients, and to purchase Rapid Point of Care COVID testing equipment and supplies that provide results within approximately 15 minutes;
- $20,000 to Alexander Valley Healthcare (Cloverdale) another key safety net medical provider that served approximately 4,200 unduplicated patients in 2019, 40% Latinx; the emergency grant assisted with the clinic’s new satellite treatment center for COVID-positive patients;
- $10,000 to Windsor Wellness Partnership for its grassroots efforts in connecting food delivery to people in quarantine and others experiencing food insecurity;
- $10,000 to Humanidad for its bilingual/bicultural mental health services, in partnership with Corazón Healdsburg;
- $5,000 to Reach for Home for its food delivery service to people experiencing homelessness;
- $5,000 to Mi Futuro in support of its COVID-related mental health promotion to Latinx high school students pursuing healthcare careers;
- $5,000 to Farm to Pantry for rescuing locally grown food and sharing it with those in need;
- $5,000 for thermometers for local families, masks for farm workers, and Spanish translation and graphic design for COVD-19 prevention fliers.
MENTAL HEALTH: INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES TO ADDRESS A GROWING CRISIS
The pandemic has only exacerbated the mental health crisis in our country. In Sonoma County, the coronavirus hit us just as we began to recover physically and mentally from the 2017 and 2019 fires. And here, as everywhere, COVID-19 has shed light on persistent health inequities due to deep, structural racism. The virus, quarantine requirements, loss of income, lack of childcare or school, plus the fires, have created stratospheric levels of stress for everyone, especially for children and parents, and even more so for children and parents of color.
According to a recent survey of Sonoma County parents with young children, 3 in 10 Latinx and 1 in 2 other non-white families report that mental health supports for themselves or their children would be “very helpful,” compared to about 1 in 6 white families. As a result, supporting mental health services and increasing the number of bilingual/bicultural mental health providers in northern Sonoma County remain among our highest priorities in 2020. Below is a list of 2020 grants we have made in support of the mental health of our community.
- $121,000 in support of our Mental Health in Schools Team Success counseling program at Healdsburg, Windsor and Cloverdale unified school districts, in partnership with the John Jordan Foundation and Foundation for Global Sports Development. During the pandemic, SOS Community Counseling, the Team Success service provider, continues to deliver mental health services to students via video and telephone conferencing, as well as in-person crisis interventions;
- $89,000 to participants in the Mental Health Talent Pipeline program for scholarships, stipends and signing bonuses to local bilingual/bicultural Latinx mental health students and professionals;
- $62,125 for Reach for Home’s Street Medicine program, which brings critical medical care and mental health stabilization services directly to people experiencing homelesseness who might otherwise go years without seeing a provider;
- $10,000 to the Hanna Institute to nurture the network of 450 mental health professionals who, supported by the Healthcare Foundation, received Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) training as part of the Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative after the 2017 wildfires.
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT: CRITICAL NEEDS OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN SONOMA COUNTY
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly deepened racial disparities across multiple indicators related to children’s health, maternal mental health, school readiness and family economic stability in Sonoma County. Families have lost income, lost child care providers due to temporary or permanent closures, and are now attempting to balance working and an alternate child care plan. Almost half of the Latinx households that responded to a September 2020 survey performed by First 5 Sonoma County have either temporarily or permanently lost jobs. Amidst these circumstances, one of the most significant disparities we see is the need for financial support and essential items for families with young children.
Our vision is for healthcare providers, the education system, philanthropy and government to build capacity for trauma-informed approaches across all sectors. Efforts that address the social determinants of health are more important than ever, including promoting community connections and belonging.
Research shows that conditions of poverty and parents’ feelings of isolation, frustration and stress directly contribute to risk factors and trauma that impact children’s early brain development; these include child abuse and neglect, parental mental illness and witnessing domestic violence. Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, have increased in frequency, duration, and intensity across Sonoma County due to the combined impacts of the pandemic, years of recurring disasters and harmful immigration policies.
The child care sector has been truly devastated in the last eight months due to public health restrictions. With no federal relief and marginal relief from the state, over 40% of child care providers have closed across the county, many permanently.
The Healthcare Foundation is committed to making equity a priority as we address the deepened health disparities affecting the children and families in our community.
- $100,000 to First 5 Sonoma County to convene partners in a community-wide approach to supporting young children and families;
- $85,000 to Alliance Medical Services for online prenatal classes and behavioral services;
- $13,600 to Corazón Healdsburg for recruiting and supporting mothers to participate in prenatal education at Alliance Medical, and rewards for completing the program;
- $6,400 to YWCA Sonoma County for A Special Place Therapeutic Preschool, providing counseling to children ages three to five who have witnessed or are living with violence in the home.