Week 17: COVID-19 Response Grants

In partnership with our generous donors and supporters, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona has awarded more than $2 million in COVID-19 relief funding over the last five months.

In week seventeen, $65,000 was awarded to five organizations to provide services for low-income families with children, emergency food and basic needs for those living in poverty, therapy for students and families, and purchasing PPE and remote supplies for teachers.

COVID Grantees Week 17

Sahuarita Food Bank implemented several changes in operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including switching from in person pick-up to a delivery system in order to provide emergency food to those in need. With new limitations in how they operate and receive donations, grant funds will help them purchase emergency food to restock their dry goods supply.

Penny Pestle, President of the Board of Directors of the Sahuarita Food Bank, shared, “Without the help of CFSA and other grantors, the National Guard, and our extraordinary staff and volunteers, we could not have kept up with demand. This has truly been a community effort that demonstrates the best of our society.”

The Talk it Out Program, through The University of Arizona’s College of Education, has seen a 60% increase in demand since the pandemic began for the counseling services they provide to students and families in the Tucson Unified School District. Dr. Lia Falco, Assistant Professor for the College of Education, emphasized, “When schools close or the school year is disrupted, all children are at-risk for developing or experiencing worsening mental health problems including anxiety, depression, substance use, and suicide risk.”

Dr. Falco further highlighted the experience of a Talk it Out Program client who shared, “The TIO program was very important to my family in getting immediate services for my depressed and suicidal daughter. We had no insurance and no one would help us except TIO. When my daughter was put into a mental health facility and turned 18, she was able to get insurance and has recovered. We would have never been able to start this process without TIO. It saved my daughter’s life when no one else would help us.

Programs provided by United Way of Santa Cruz County, such as their diaper bank, have made changes to program delivery during COVID-19. Since the pandemic began, they have been able to deliver more diapers to their partner agencies throughout Santa Cruz County. Marcela Chavez, Executive Director, expressed, “Thanks to foundations like CFSA that have extended all this extra funding the program has grown and is getting stronger.”

Tucson Values Teachers is a partnership of business leaders, educators, and individuals with a shared mission to inspire support of PreK-12 teachers in Southern Arizona through community collaborations that attract, retain, and celebrate teacher excellence. Due to COVID-19, TVT has shifted their focus to providing PPE for teachers and the necessary resources to create safe learning environments for both teachers and students.

Andy Heinemann, CEO of TVT, shared, “Teachers are on the front line and they know better than anyone else that an effective learning environment is one where everyone feels safe.” He further shared a quote from a teacher at Ironwood Elementary School in the Marana Unified School District where they state, “Thank you for supporting Tucson’s teachers! It feels amazing to know so many people and organizations really do value what we are doing.”