Message to Grantees, Partners and Colleagues

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Board and staff of The California Endowment, we write to thank you for the many ways you are serving your communities in this time of COVID-19. We want to remind you that we stand in solidarity with you and your team, community, and residents. This communication is to inform you about The Endowment’s plan for using our resources and skills to continue to leverage and amplify efforts on behalf of the most vulnerable Californians.

California Immigrant Resilience Fund
We are happy to announce that our foundation committed support for the Public/Private partnership “California Immigrant Resilience Fund” established by Governor Newsom and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR).  The fund will assist undocumented immigrants and Farmworkers that were left out of the federal stimulus package.  We are excited that California is leading the way in recognizing the contributions of these communities.  We will continue to support expanding resources to those who have been overlooked and are most vulnerable during these difficult times.

Initial COVID Response Support
A couple of weeks ago, we initiated Phase I of our COVID-19 response plan. This initial $5 million was granted to emergency funds and networks in regions across our state including Community Foundations, the United Way, the California Primary Care Association, and UnDocu Fund, among many others. All of these organizations have a track record of partnering with low-income, immigrant and non-English speaking communities who are experiencing in a disproportionate manner, the greatest impact from the COVID-19 virus and the economic downturn.

Federal COVID Response
Since our first COVID-19 investment, Congress and the Administration have approved several federal stimulus and disaster response funding bills, including, the CARES Act.  Based on an analysis of this measure, California stands to receive as much as $200 billion this year alone in various funding streams – a dollar figure that is considerable, but likely insufficient to meet the growing health and economic needs across our state’s most vulnerable populations and communities.

TCE Phase II COVID Response Plan
The following represents a summary of our plans and proposed actions to assist in California’s response to this historical crisis especially for those most vulnerable populations left out of the federal stimulus package:

  • We will increase our grant spending this year, by an additional $12 million, centering on the needs of our state’s vulnerable communities in the COVID 19 environment. The bulk of the resources in the COVID-19 response fund will be directed to current TCE grantee and partners who work within our targeted communities.
  • For Phase II of our COVID-19 response, our Board of Directors has approved four themes to prioritize and guide our grantmaking: a) direct support of current grantee/partners working with vulnerable populations across the state; b) leveraging of public resources to support vulnerable populations; c) strengthening nonprofit organizing and advocacy capacity through  technology; d) narrative development, narrative change, and communications capacity with an inclusion and racial equity lens.
  • We are providing greater grant flexibility to existing grantees by streamlining grant renewals, waiving and reducing required grant reporting, and shifting current restricted project grants to general operating support grants.  Please contact your Program Manager for assistance.
  • Recognizing the continued urgency and immediate needs for support throughout the state, TCE will provide up to an additional $3 million to regional response funds for rapid deployment.  We trust the work of our partners who have quickly developed these response funds to reach impacted communities.
  • We are also providing financial relief to our many non-profit tenants in our Los Angeles and Oakland buildings by waiving rental payments during this time of sheltering in place.  We hope this provides some level of comfort and assistance to these organizations during this very difficult time.

COVID Support to Current Grant Partners
In the days and weeks to come, we will provide guidance and greater clarity to our current grantee/partners about the availability of these resources.   We will also provide more information on how these resources will be provided to organizations working with the vulnerable communities in alignment with our four Board approved areas of work.

Not surprisingly, our phone lines and email in-boxes are filling rapidly with urgent requests from nonprofit organizations throughout California.  In all candor, our ability to favorably respond to these requests will be limited. We are committed to working with our current philanthropic partners and grantee/partners to leverage and spread our resources to meet this crisis to the greatest extent possible.

Coronavirus is Not an Excuse for Racism; Reveals Long-Standing Inequity
The early stage of the pandemic’s arrival to our nation unleashed disturbing, overtly racist attacks on our Asian-American brothers and sisters, while recent reports suggest the African American community across the U.S. may be experiencing an alarmingly disproportionate share of severe illnesses and deaths. COVID-19 serves yet another grim reminder of how the enduring legacy of racism, exclusion, and divisive narratives shape health, disease, and well-being. We know that when it comes to your health in the US, your zip code matters more than your genetic code and that any racist attack regarding COVID-19 is wrong and unfounded and that is why we have spoken out against these attacks from the beginning, and continue to advocate for racial justice and health equity in all aspects of our work.

TCE Transition to Beyond 2020
As many of you know, we were in the process of finalizing plans for our next decade of work as a foundation when our world changed with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our belief the “Beyond 2020” plan not only remains relevant but, that our core principles of inclusion, belonging, people power, voice, narrative change, and racial equity take on even greater importance in the next decade of work.

Together We Are Stronger
We will indeed get through this crisis, and we are struck by how the seemingly incongruent themes of “physical distancing” and the need for greater belonging constitute how, in the end, we win this battle. COVID-19 has irrefutably proven that our fates are inextricably intertwined. In the wake of this unprecedented pandemic and the ensuing profound psychic injury to our collective national consciousness, a powerful solidarity opportunity will arise. We must deliberately seize that moment with the strongest possible affirmation of inclusion, belonging, and community as the optimal path to health for all.

In Partnership and Solidarity,

Shawn Ginwright     Bishop Minerva Carcaño     Dr. Robert K Ross
Board Chair             Board Vice Chair                 President/CEO


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