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Sacramento County and Nonprofits Partner to Reach Residents Hit Hardest by Coronavirus

While Sacramento County and area nonprofits are working on supporting residents through the coronavirus pandemic, a group of thirteen philanthropic organizations have also pooled together funds to support a $20 million initiative that will support county health departments and community-based organizations in their fight against Covid-19. Susan Watson of PHI discusses this new initiative, Together Toward Health.

  • Sacramento Bee
Together Toward Health logo

By working as a COVID-19 case investigator, Melissa De La Cruz is seeing firsthand how quickly things can go south for families facing this illness in the Sacramento region.

One of her clients told her that an employer promised a paycheck for the quarantine period and that they wouldn’t need any resources, De La Cruz said, but that didn’t work out.

“They haven’t gotten paid, and it’s been over three weeks,” she said. “It just goes to show you how things can change within a few days or within weeks. … Financial hardship is really taking a toll on a lot of these families. Along with the disease, they’re concerned about housing, utilities, food.”

The Sol Collective, a Sacramento-based nonprofit that celebrates the Latinx culture and educates people about it, hired De La Cruz to work on reducing the disproportionately high number of COVID-19 cases in Sacramento’s Hispanic community.

Thanks to a new partnership, Sacramento County has appropriated $13 million to Sol Collective and 12 other community-based organizations to ensure that the racial and ethnic groups and businesses hardest hit by COVID-19 have what they need to mount a better defense.

Sierra Health Foundation will actually manage how the funds are spent, said Chet Hewitt, Sierra Health’s president and chief executive officer. The project is known as the Sacramento County COVID-19 Collaborative — The Collab for short — and it’s funded by money the county received as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Separately, Sierra Health also joined the California Endowment and 11 other philanthropic organizations pooling together their own funds in a $20 million initiative that will support county health departments and community-based organizations in their fight against COVID-19.

The nonprofit Public Health Institute, based in Oakland, will run the new initiative which the partners are calling Together Toward Health.

Susan Watson, the Public Health Institute program manager who will manage the initiative, said the plan is to find gaps in what is being done and to fill them, whether that’s in building awareness, outreach, education, workforce development or other issues.

Susan Watson
A lot of people have not been able to go back to work or have lost jobs, and at the same time there is a need for contact tracers who should reflect the diversity of the communities of need. For those who wind up with jobs through this effort, they may have longer-term opportunities and new directions for their lives and for their families. At the end of this, we want to be doing things to make the community organizations, the community members, the relationships between organizations and health departments even stronger.

Susan Watson, Together Toward Health

Click below to read the full story in the Sacramento Bee.

Originally published by Sacramento Bee

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