It has been amazing to see organizations across our grant portfolio respond to the new and constantly changing environment resulting from COVID-19. This includes shifting priorities to address the most immediate challenges and community needs, modifying business practice to operate under social distancing guidelines, and setting plans to build greater resilience for the long-term effects of the pandemic.
Here are just a few examples of what is happening:
• Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) – an Asheville-based nonprofit – developed a CDC-compliant farmers market using a community college parking lot and trust-based, post-shopping online purchasing system. On its opening day, the market saw 600 shoppers in three hours. ASAP will also offer double bucks for people using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer, providing families with low incomes twice as much buying power. Learn more.
• Care Share Health Alliance – based in Raleigh – is pivoting its work in response to COVID-19. In addition to gathering relevant information for stakeholders, Care Share is hosting peer-to-peer learning calls for the donated care networks, Medicaid transformation grantees, and food councils to share how they are shifting their work to respond to the current environment.
• Caswell Cares (The Health Collaborative of Caswell County) – a collaborative based in Yanceyville – is hosting twice a week virtual community updates to share reliable and timely information. The collaborative of cross-sector partners (nonprofits, government agencies, faith-based organizations, and other community-based organizations) are working to anticipate and respond to community needs. Some organizations have changed the way they provide services, and many are adding additional services as needs arise.
• Child Care Services Association and the North Carolina Partnership for Children established a relief fund that helps child care centers purchase health and sanitation supplies. Every dollar donated goes directly back into child care programs and families in our community. Learn more about the fund.
• Farmer Foodshare – a Durham-based nonprofit – is partnering with three Triangle school districts to ensure fresh food is included in meals provided to student and families as schools remain closed. Items such as apples, yogurt, eggs, sweet potatoes, and milk are being sourced from farmers across the state.
• Farmworker Health Collaborative – a collaborative based out of the North Carolina Community Health Center Association in Raleigh – is focused on supporting farmworker health during this pandemic and collaborating to gain momentum for the health and safety of these essential workers. See more about the advocacy efforts to address inequities driven by occupational conditions.
• Hunger and Health Coalition – based in Boone – has navigated an increase in families seeking their services amidst a decrease in volunteers by converting to a drive-through for their food and pharmacy programs. They are collaborating with existing infrastructures and pooling their strengths as a 30-year old food pantry to ensure the equitable distribution of food, medicine, and pantry supplies.
• NC Child is mobilizing a policy response to COVID-19’s impact on the child care system, working with partners to promote the Child Care Emergency Economic Support Package, which is a robust set of financial supports and policy changes needed to prevent the potential collapse of the early childhood education system in North Carolina. Learn more.
• NC Center for Nonprofits surveyed the nonprofit sector and began hosting a weekly “In This Together” virtual convening for its members to connect and offer mutual support. The Center has also increased the frequency of its Nonprofit Policy Matters newsletter and expanded access to the communication from members-only to any nonprofit in the state. Read the survey results.
• NC Oral Health Collaborative (NCOHC) developed a web-based map that refers people with emergency dental needs to open dental offices. This resource will be maintained in real time and in partnership with the NC Community Health Center Association. It aims to keep those in dental pain out of hospital Emergency Departments and support safety net practices that are struggling to stay open with low demand and resulting low revenues. NCOHC is also working to promote changes to Medicaid policy to increase or add coverage for services that produce lower fluid, spray, or aerosols than are produced by drilling and, as a result, are less likely to spread COVID-19. In the long-term, greater provider and patient acceptance of these procedures may accelerate the shift to value in dentistry. Similarly, COVID-19 has increased the speed at which some regulatory changes for teledentistry are being advanced. North Carolina’s Medicaid program announced it will cover teledentistry for the duration of the state of emergency. View the web-based map and learn more about the Medicaid announcement.
• North Carolina Association of Education for Young Children – based in Raleigh – partnered with self-care leader Rosie Molinary to host a self-care check-in for early childhood educators. More than 300 educators participated, modeling resilience and promoting well-being. Resources for all to access are available here.
• North Carolina Collaborative for Strong Latinx Communities – which offers funding, support, and resources for Latinx-led, Latinx-serving community organizations across the state to address health inequities – opened an additional rapid response grant opportunity for 50 grassroots organizations led by those severely impacted by the pandemic. Funding can be used to offset unexpected costs created because of the COVID-19 outbreak at the organizational and household level.
• Pisgah Legal Services – based in Asheville – is working quickly to adapt to community needs, including offering Facebook Live events and FAQ sheets on unemployment, ACA Health Insurance, child custody agreements, and other common legal issues. Domestic violence prevention program attorneys continue to make court appearances to ensure that clients and their children have safe homes to “stay at home” in. They continue to receive Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) referrals as part of the Medical Legal Partnerships and are screening and providing legal services over the phone.
• Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations (QENO) – a Wilmington based nonprofit supporting capacity building – is providing one on one virtual meetings with nonprofit leaders to discuss challenges they are facing such as managing staff remotely and programmatic strategy. QENO has also convened executive directors from the region as part of their Executive Director Academy to offer support and peer problem solving. Additionally, they are amplifying the sector’s advocacy efforts and connecting to resources regionally and statewide.
• West Marion Community Forum – based in McDowell County – is meeting the needs of its community by responding in as many ways as possible, whether it be food, diapers, or connections. Additionally, partners set up an interactive mutual aid site where McDowell County residents can make requests, offerings, and share resources. The hope is that this document will connect neighbors, identify and fulfill needs, and share resources that may benefit McDowell residents.
• Western North Carolina Nonprofit Pathways – based in Asheville and serving an 18-county region – is focused on supporting capacity building resources for nonprofits to help with remote working, fundraising, planning, preparation, and other ways to enable organizations to pivot and adapt. Anyone can take advantage of the webinars and resources listed.
• Working Landscapes – a nonprofit food aggregator and processor based in Warren County – established a Local Food Access Fund to purchase crops from local farmers and donate them through a local food pantry. Said Gabriel Cummings, Associate Director at Working Landscapes, “In the past, we did not participate directly in hunger relief efforts, but the need in the community is apparent and extreme, so we are trying our best to respond,”
Have a story to share?
We’d love to hear more about how grantees are responding. If you are interested in sharing, please submit a very brief write-up using this form.