VENICE — Two region foundations have worked together and are now awarding grants for their COVID-19 Response Initiative, it was announced Tuesday.

Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation issued 11 grants “totaling more than $220,000 to relieve strain on key health and human-service organizations that are aiding residents hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic,” they said in a news release.

“These grants — and many more we have in the pipeline — are what I call ‘quick hits,’” said Teri A Hansen, president and CEO of Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, in the news release. “They give some of our strongest nonprofit partners what they need right now to continue their critical work, even as their own staffs and revenues are affected. We will continue working with them to prepare for the intermediate and long-term challenges yet to come.”

CenterPlace Health offers primary health care to Medicaid patients and received grants to help transition to a telehealth, the news release states.

“Telehealth will allow us to continue providing care to all of our patients — especially our pregnant moms and babies,” said Melissa Parker, president and CEO of CenterPlace Health.

A SKY Family YMCA grant helps with childcare for emergency responsers and other health care personnel, the news release states.

“Right now, we are seeing unemployment spike as thousands of hard-working, low-income residents lose their jobs and face losing their homes,” said Mark Pritchett, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation, said in the news release. “Our first responders and health care workers and their families are straining under the pressure of this pandemic. Our initiative aims to be both nimble and strategic, easing pressures now while also weaving a stronger safety net for the more systemic issues our region will face.”

Those who received grants include:

• CenterPlace Health — $20,000 to continue providing primary care to Sarasota County’s underserved and uninsured, including pregnant mothers and children, through telehealth services.

• First Step of Sarasota — $26,000 to ensure high-risk individuals in addiction recovery can continue to access counseling, therapy, psychiatric services, and other supports through telemedicine.

• Multicultural Health Institute — $5,000 to expand its health information outreach in the Newtown area to vulnerable populations most at risk for COVID-19.

• Family Promise of South Sarasota County — $25,000 for rent assistance to help low-income families who have overcome homelessness remain stably housed during the crisis.

• Harvest House — $4,650 to buy laptop computers so staff can transition to remote work and continue to provide case management for residents overcoming homelessness or addiction.

• HOPE for North Port — $500 for food-pantry assistance at Hope Community Church, one of the few food distribution sites in North Port, where demand has doubled.

• Women’s Resource Center — $21,500 to provide women critical counseling sessions and social support through enhanced telecommunications.

• Gulfcoast Legal Services — $1,000 to support software for securely transmitting sensitive client data via email.

• Capital Good Fund — $30,000 to launch a new Crisis Relief Loan program that provides highly flexible, low-interest loans to Sarasota County residents most at risk from predatory lenders.

• SKY Family YMCA — $50,000 to provide childcare for essential health care and emergency-response employees.

• Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County — $40,000 to launch its First Responder Program to provide free childcare to local first responders.


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