Message updated March 17, 2020
Foundation office operating virtually, Center for Health Equity is closed.
In light of the rapidly evolving health crisis posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken the following precautions and actions:
• The Center for Health Equity will be closed through May 18th following the CDC’s guidance of no gatherings of 50 people or more for eight weeks. This closure also allows the Center’s availability if needed for any disaster response for which the space may be useful.
• Security will be on site at the Center as usual.
• Foundation offices will be open virtually, with staff working remotely during regular business hours. We will monitor phone messages but encourage you to visit the staff roster on our website and email individual staff members directly to continue your work with them.
• Requests for events and partnerships at the Center for Health Equity are postponed until more COVID-19 information is known.
• We will communicate with e-news audiences frequently, but the most up-to-date information will always be on our website.
The Foundation’s goal is to deploy resources in a manner that adds value to official government responses to the crisis, with a focus on race equity. We are committed to efforts to support the health of Pinellas County residents, and to that end, we have paused other programs and events until COVID-19 is under control.
Efforts are underway to work with all of our active funded partners to allow the freedom to adjust the spending of existing Foundation grants to mitigate the spread of the virus (i.e., paid sick leave for team members) and to offset losses due to interruptions in service that may impact revenue (for example, for nonprofits dependent on fee-for-service contracts).
We are especially concerned about how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect people who already face hardship. Public emergencies such as this pose additional risks for people with compromised circumstances, putting them at a disadvantage for safeguarding themselves and their families. Factors like racial discrimination and economic hardship can affect individual resilience and readiness. People with low incomes, homeless individuals, hourly workers without paid time off, parents without safe childcare options in the event of school closures, elderly people, and the medically uninsured are all among those who face extra challenges to stay healthy and whole.
We are closely coordinating with the County agency charged with responding to vulnerable community members (such as those at higher risk due to age, income, race, geography, etc.). Our goal is to ensure support and coordination and enable rapid responses where and when needed.
In addition we are coordinating closely with the Tampa Bay Disaster Response Fund to direct resources from a coalition of funders to the highest need areas, identified on a county-by-county basis. Please stay tuned for a report on these relief efforts.
Stay Safe, Put Health First, Follow Reliable COVID-19 Sources.