Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta Announce Fifth Round of Grants for COVID-19 Response

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

The Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, a joint effort from Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta, announced the Fund’s fifth round of grants. A total of $1.463 million will be distributed to 13 organizations for emergency response. A grand total of nearly $12 million from the Fund has been mobilized to benefit 75 nonprofits to date. Grants made in the earlier rounds are detailed on both the Community Foundation’s website and United Way’s website.

The grant recipients from the fifth round and their grant amounts, are:

Atlanta Technical College Foundation ($100,000) Due to COVID-19, many Pell-eligible students need housing assistance, food, personal care products and other basic needs. Almost 70 percent of Atlanta Technical College (ATC) students are economically disadvantaged and receive some form of financial aid. Students are mostly female, many of whom work and are raising children. Since closing in-person instruction due to COVID-19, ATC has seen a rise in student need in technology supports, emergency financial assistance and online tutorial services. ATC has created a Students’ Technology Support Fund and a Students’ Emergency Assistance Fund and expanded its online tutorial services. This grant will support the added costs related to providing added supports for students.

Clayton County Public Schools Foundation ($125,000) Clayton County Public Schools Foundation (Foundation) supports 55,000 Pre-K through 12th grade students and their families in the Clayton County school system. During this critical time the Foundation has provided meals, identified students who have educational needs and ensured that support for students with special needs continues. The Foundation has identified 1,750 students who do not have access to a laptop for online learning and are only completing assignments on a cell phone when it is available. This grant will support the purchase of Chromebooks that can be paired with Wi-Fi devices being provided to Clayton County students by 100 Black Men of America.

Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation($25,000) More than 60-percent of Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) students are Pell-eligible. Due to COVID-19, many students need housing assistance, food, personal care products and other basic needs. GGC has established a Student Emergency Fund to support students whose education might be derailed due to the pandemic. The Fund is addressing student needs for food, gasoline, housing, rent and utilities, essential items that students need to keep them functional and enrolled. This grant will contribute to the emergency fund to meet essential student needs.

Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB Education) ($50,000) Within a week of the first school closures in March, GPB Education began providing expanded free services and resources to educators, students and families. They partnered with the Georgia Department of Education to launch Georgia Home Classroom, which includes a library of digital learning resources that adhere to the state’s standards for fostering at-home learning across all subjects and grade levels. GPB Education is also providing a daily e-newsletter to 50,000+ subscribers with recommendations on learning activities and opportunities, and weekly live webinars offering instructional strategies for remote learning. This grant will support extended services beyond the academic year and will provide educational support for families without technology and/or internet access and help mitigate what potentially may be a five-month learning loss for students who don’t have access to educational content.

Georgia State University Foundation ($100,000) Georgia State University (GSU) has established an Emergency Assistance Fund to provide aid to students who need immediate resources and support during the pandemic. GSU serves a particularly vulnerable population of students – nearly 60 percent are Pell-eligible with a median family income under $27,000. GSU has a streamlined, rapid response system in place where they can verify, document and award emergency funds to students in need within 24-48 hours. This grant will support GSU’s emergency funds that can be deployed to students immediately to alleviate housing and food insecurity and help fill in the gaps for other basic emergency needs. Awards to date have ranged from $250 to $1,000.

Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation ($200,000) Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) has been continuing students' education by providing Digital Learning Days for students to receive daily assignments and connect with each of their teachers using the established learning management system, called eClass. About 10 percent of students (18,000 students) have not yet logged into their eClass page to view assignments, communication and resources provided by their teachers, largely due to lack of internet access. This grant will enable GCPS to purchase hot spots and internet service plans for families in need and to provide 'Play 2 Learn' packets with books and activities for parents of children under age 5 who would normally be served in childcare centers.

Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage and Disability ($50,000) Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage and Disability (ISDD) provides support including case management, support groups, training and in-home tutoring to low-income, senior-headed households that include children with special needs. The average age of ISDD’s caregivers is 60, and many have an underlying health condition, such as diabetes or hypertension, which puts them at particular risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. This population is usually overlooked by existing systems. This grant will help ISDD provide food to these families and support their other needs, such as laptops for children to participate in school.

KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools ($100,000) KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools is a network of 10 tuition-free, public charter schools that offer college-preparatory education in Atlanta’s educationally underserved communities, serving 4,600 students and 800 alumni in college. KIPP Metro Atlanta is not receiving COVID-19 emergency supports through the Georgia Charter Schools Association, Atlanta Public Schools or Fulton County Schools. Due to COVID-19, KIPP students need access to laptops and the internet for successful long-term distance learning. This grant will help provide students access to laptops, IT support and internet access, distance learning transitioning supplies and curriculum and emergency funding for families of students and alumni.

Marietta City Schools ($75,000) Marietta City Schools’ (MCS) response to students’ basic needs initially focused on feeding the thousands of children who depend on school for meals. Sixty percent of MCS students qualify for free/reduced lunch. The school system served more than 65,000 meals March 16 through April 3. Another immediate need is to keep students connected to learning, many of whom do not have Wi-Fi or devices needed for distance learning. MCS has purchased six months of Wi-Fi connectivity and has loaned 3,000 computers to ensure students can stay connected to learning during the closure. This grant will contribute to the $150,000 cost of connectivity for approximately 700 students who currently don’t have access.

Partners for HOME ($300,000) Through their proven track record and partnership with the City of Atlanta, Partners for HOME (PfH) was able to leverage a $1.5 million pledge from the City for their COVID-19 response and action plan to address and assist people experiencing homelessness during this pandemic. PfH seeks to stop the spread of COVID-19 among shelter populations and house the most vulnerable: those over the age of 55 and those with underlying health conditions. PfH is coordinating with government and nonprofit organizations to provide 250 people with shelter, meals and healthcare for three months. This grant will support this effort that includes isolation beds, comprehensive testing and permanent supportive housing.

Partnership for Southern Equity ($150,000) Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) works to advance policies and institutional actions that promote racial equity and shared prosperity for all. In response to COVID-19, PSE is re-granting funds to primarily African American-led organizations to provide emergency financial assistance to residents facing food insecurity, unstable housing and precarious physical and mental challenges. High rates of chronic diseases and increased risks of exposure because of work requirements, transportation and housing options combine for devastating effects: while 43% of Fulton County residents are African American, African Americans represent 85% of COVID-19 related deaths in Fulton County. This grant will assist PSE and its partners serving approximately 900 residents in the Pittsburgh and Peoplestown neighborhoods in Atlanta and several neighborhoods in South Fulton county.

Quality Care for Children ($150,000) Quality Care for Children (QCC) serves more than 100,000 children annually through the direct support of childcare providers, both center-based and family childcare. Without assistance during the COVID-19 crisis, many providers will close their doors, never to reopen. QCC is also focused on helping connect essential workers to childcare options and giving childcare providers up-to-date essential information and training to help them weather these times. This grant will support a referral network for essential workers to find licensed care, funding to help childcare programs remain open, costs of meals for children and costs related to training and webinars for childcare providers to learn about how this crisis will impact them.

Southerners On New Ground ($38,400) Southerners On New Ground (SONG) is a resource for LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender and sexuality in the South. SONG’s response to COVID-19 includes broadening its usual service populations to include Black men and children, and the organization is now serving people ranging in age from 6 – 55 years. SONG’s response has two primary efforts – advocating for the release of people held in Fulton County jails to help prevent the spread of the disease and coordinating the neighborhood Mutual Aid efforts in the West End and Mechanicsville neighborhoods. The Mutual Aid work includes providing food and hand sanitizer to the unsheltered and emergency financial assistance and political education to young people. This grant will enable this work to continue for the next three months. 

Grants from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund focus on immediate and critical needs to support those most vulnerable. United Way and Community Foundation staff, with the guidance of a volunteer steering committee comprised of leading individuals from civic, corporate and nonprofit sectors across the region, are identifying additional organizations currently providing or receiving requests for support.

The Fund created an application process for nonprofits across the region to explain their grant needs and indicate how the Fund could help. Open from April 6 - 10, more than 650 nonprofit organizations requested funding through this period, indicative of the significant impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on our region.

The Fund was announced March 17 with Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta committing $1 million and United Way of Greater Atlanta contributing $500,000 to seed the Fund. As of today, commitments have been secured from  the Coca-Cola Company, Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, each donating $5 million to the Fund in support. Other current funders include the City of Atlanta, The Goizueta Foundation, The Klump Family Foundation and Truist Foundation, contributing $1 million each. A complete list of corporate, foundation and individual donors to the Fund can be found here