Collage of COVID grantees carrying out their work during the pandemic

Week 10: COVID-19 Response Grants

In partnership with our generous donors and supporters, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona has awarded more than $1.4 million in COVID-19 relief funding over the last two months. 

We are pleased to announce our tenth round of COVID-19 Response Grants. In week ten, $97,252 was awarded to seven organizations and initiatives to provide basic needs and PPE for elderly residents, childcare for low-income families, mortgage assistance to homeowners, home-delivered meals for seniors, access to fresh, sustainable produce, and critical support for educators as they adapt to new ways of teaching.

Unfortunately, many who struggle with work insecurity during normal times have been disproportionately impacted during COVID-19. Dr. Ernestina Fuentes with Herencia Guadalupana Lab Schools shared, “This grant money has been a lifeline for 45 families living poverty. Their jobs are threatened without quality childcare for their children. Funding from CFSA provides a haven for children in poverty to learn and grow while their parents work.

“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the critical need for safe, decent housing so families can shelter safely in place during this unprecedented time,” said T. VanHook, CEO at Habitat for Humanity Tucson. “Thanks to the incredible generosity of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, we are able to continue giving a hand-up to hardworking families in our community.”

Access to healthy food is an ongoing struggle during COVID-19. “In today’s climate of economic uncertainty, Community Gardens of Tucson provides an essential lifeline of food security to those in our community who are economically disadvantaged and at greatest risk from food shortages,” said Director, Scott Feierabend. “The generous funding provided by this grant will allow CGT to significantly expand our gardening scholarships by supporting an additional 40 gardeners from low-income communities and help bring fresh and nutritious food from garden to table in these neighborhoods.

Karen Blackbird, Resident Services Manager with Mercy Housing Southwest, shared the struggles some of Southern Arizona’s seniors are facing, including “navigating changes due to COVID-19 and trying to obtain enough food and medical services. Moreover, they have limited access to PPE when they do go out.” Mercy Housing Southwest provides safe, affordable homes for low-income seniors and people with special needs. The services they offer help ensure senior residents stay well by staying in place. Blackbird continued, “This grant will enable us to provide protective masks, hand sanitizer, hygiene items, and food resources to support 107 residents.”

Educators around the country are facing unprecedented challenges as they try and adapt to the new normal. “Teachers want and need new ways to respond to the changes in the education landscape as a result of this global pandemic,” shared Melissa Hosten with the Center for Recruitment and Retention of Mathematics Teachers. “The funds will help teachers develop the skills and understandings to support student success and allow us to extend our reach to rural and underserved communities. The COVID Response Grant from the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona allows us the opportunity to increase access and opportunity right where and when it is needed to improve mathematics success for teachers and students!