COVID-19 Week 17 grant recipients. 5 photos of the winners

Week 17: COVID-19 Response Grants

In partnership with our generous donors and supporters, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona has awarded more than $1.9 million in COVID-19 relief funding over the last four 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.

Sahuarita Food Bank faced major changes in operation 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 changes in how they operate and receive donations, funds allocated will help Sahuarita Food Bank purchase emergency food and 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.”

Programs provided by United Way of Santa Cruz, such as their diaper bank, have made changes to directly deliver their services during COVID-19. Since the pandemic began, they have been able to deliver more diapers to their partnering agencies directly, as well as dependable health care, 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.”

Arivaca Action Center’s Early Learning Center reopened to the public on August 31, 2020, where they serve primarily low-income families with children. Funding was required to meet health and safety standards, hire additional staff and provide essential materials to continue providing high quality learning experiences.

Gloria Williams, Board President of Arivaca Action Center, shared, “Covid-19 Funds from the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona will have a significant impact on our non-profit Arivaca Action Center Early Learning Center and on our Arivaca Community at large.” She further emphasized, “Stress reduction for families who count on our services is a pathway to normalizing this challenging time for all.”

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 focus to provide 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 and truly understand the gap we are facing between what is expected and the resources that are provided to meet those expectations.”

UA College of Education’s Talk it Out Program (TIO) 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 futher 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.”