Message updated March 28, 2020
Dear Fellow Community Members, Partners, and Race Equity Advocates,
The potential scale of the COVID-19 pandemic is now clear. Pinellas County has instituted Resolution # 20-20, COVID-19 SAFER AT HOME Order. This development is designed to safeguard the community, but its impact on people of color will be disproportionately negative. The Foundation is responding in accordance with mission and our existence as a funding source in perpetuity, with a role to play today and far into the future.
The Foundation has adopted the following COVID-19 Guiding Principles:
1. The investment of our social, moral, intellectual, reputational, and financial capital will be through a lens of race equity.
2. Responses will be evidence informed. We will follow the lead of public officials and public responses. We will deploy Foundation funds in the best and highest way to be value-added.
3. The Foundation’s values (Race Equity, Transparency Evidence-Informed, Collaboration, Listen & Learn, Inclusive, Engaged, Lead, Compel Action) translate into priorities. These priorities mean we will: a) act; b) listen to lived experience of people and of the community’s nonprofits; c) champion our response focused on race equity for health equity; d) be community-led; and e) communicate what we are doing.
4. We will offer to any funded partner the opportunity to reprogram dollars to respond to the crisis and we will deploy our staff and financial resources in context of the investment portfolio for short- and mid-term responses now.
5. Several million dollars will be immediately dedicated based on the need to address:
a. Disease mitigation of the most vulnerable based on race and condition
b. Support nonprofit response, recovery, and resiliency
c. Seek to secure employment of the most vulnerably employed due to race and condition
What’s Happening Now
Foundation staff are working closely with our partners to flexibly deploy dollars and learn about emerging needs.
Based on direction from local authorities and public health experts, we’re supporting strategies for disease prevention and infection spread.
Joining those working to connect residents and small businesses to the aid they qualify for and prioritize alternate means of support for those that do not.
Working with nonprofits in a variety of ways ranging from loans and grants to cover lost revenue and holding virtual convenings to assess needs and innovate solutions.
Looking ahead, staying connected
There will be much more to share in the coming days and weeks, as events unfold. We will update our website with valuable links to get live epidemiological data and stay abreast of the CDC guidelines.
Take care of yourself!
Please do your best to stay healthy and in compliance with the Pinellas COVID-19 Safer at Home Order. Reach out to our staff, accessible via our website. They are standing by to listen and serve. There is much we can do together to help the situation and strengthen our sense of community.
Do not lose hope. There is much we can do to guide the situation toward better ends, save lives and strengthen our sense of community.
With gratitude and appreciation,
Randall H. Russell
President and CEO
Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg