New COVID-19 Grants to Boost Efforts Toward Economic and Social Relief

Jan 25 2021

The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Continues Support for Vulnerable Communities During COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Washington state, so does our community’s need for valuable services. 

On Monday, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation announced $1.4 million in emergency funding focused on getting the state’s underserved populations the food, child care, and stability they need most during this time. The latest grants from the Foundation build on previous COVID-19 support focused on communities in the Pacific Northwest. To date, the Foundation has given $12 million to support local COVID response since the start of the outbreak.

“We cannot overlook communities that are disproportionately burdened by the economic and social impacts of this pandemic,” said Jody Allen, co-founder and chair of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.  

While the COVID-19 pandemic has upended life throughout the country, the severity of its impact has hit some harder than others. The virus has driven a surge in hunger across America affecting approximately 50 million people, including 17 million children according to government officials. And Washingtonians aren’t an exception. The Washington Office of Financial Management says that up to 1.8 million of our state’s residents are left without enough to eat. That’s double the monthly average before the pandemic. Support from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will help direct resources to address this urgent crisis.

We cannot overlook communities that are disproportionately burdened by the economic and social impacts of this pandemic 

— Jody Allen

Child care providers statewide have also hit a breaking point. Nearly 16 percent of child care providers have closed and almost half of early educators in the workforce have been laid off or furloughed. Almost half of child care providers in the state reported they are at risk of closure. To help these providers weather the pandemic and rebuild equitably, the Foundation and All in WA Child Care Initiative is prioritizing support for families and child care business owners who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), as well as those located in rural and remote areas that have been disproportionately impacted. So far, the child care initiative has provided flexible grants to more than 1,600 BIPOC owned, family child care business in Washington. 

“The bottom line is that we need to urgently direct resources to address this crisis so no parent should have to struggle between their ability to secure care for their children and financially provide for their family’s needs,” said Deeann Burtch Puffert, CEO of Child Care Aware of Washington. 

Meanwhile, the lack of data and awareness has made the pandemic’s health, economic and overall impact less apparent in other communities. Early research has shown that LGBTQ+ people have struggled, particularly related to job loss, healthcare access, and economic upheaval. And Native Americans and Alaska Native people have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. To help mitigate some of these impacts, the Foundation is partnering with the Pride Foundation, Na’ah Illahee Fund, and the Potlach Fund to help front line organizations get the resources they need.

The following nonprofits received immediate support:

  • Na’ah Illahee Fund's Native Community Crisis Response Fund will continue to provide flexible direct support to Indigenous communities with a focus on food insecurity, gender-based violence and support to local artists.   

  • The Potlatch Fund, a longtime partner and advocate for Indigenous people, has provided emergency funding to current and previous grantees based on immediate needs of families and businesses.  

  • WA Food Fund, a statewide initiative launched to support food banks across the state to meet the high demand for food assistance as a result of the pandemic.   

  • University of Washington Foundation to support the WAFOOD survey, a joint effort between the University of Washington and Washington State University with collaboration from Tacoma Community College (TCC). The data from the online survey will help inform public agencies and food banks about the needs of people experiencing economic and food insecurity.    

  • All In WA Child Care Initiative to expand child care for economically vulnerable families with working parents. To date, the All In WA Child Care Initiative has dispersed 21 grants of more than $2.8 million to organizations with strong relationships among networks of child care providers and the capacity to administer flexible grants to licensed family child care businesses.  

  • Pride Foundation established their Community Crisis Care Fund to offer direct support to LGBTQ+ communities, which have been deeply affected by the pandemic. In the first four rounds of grantmaking, Pride Foundation distributed nearly $1 million across the Pacific Northwest.