Officials with the San Francisco-based Latino Community Foundation said Friday a recent $2 million investment from the organization will be used to help Latinos throughout the state who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $2 million will go toward 43 Latino-led nonprofits in the Bay Area, as well as the Sacramento, the Central Valley and Los Angeles areas. The organizations selected to receive the funding are dedicated to helping the Latino community's most vulnerable residents like farmworkers, the elderly and the undocumented.
LCF Vice President of Programs Masha Chernyak said the funding is desperately needed as Latinos, who often work essential jobs, makeup 39 percent of the state's population but account for 55 percent of all the state's COVID-19 cases.
"Working from home is a privilege that most Latinos do not have in this state and this nation," she said. "It's a disgrace that during the holiday season, Latino families were afraid of losing their apartments and homes because they couldn't afford to make rent. If one parent has to stay home to stay care of the kids because of virtual learning, that means loss of income." She added, "Most people who work in low wage labor do not have savings. They live paycheck to paycheck."
The $2 million in funding comes from donor and philanthropists nationwide, who supported the organization's Love Not Fear COVID-19 Response Fund, launched in March 2020, and the Wildfire Relief Fund, launched in Oct. 2019.
"We have taken that incredible American generosity and given it to a community that has been locked out of philanthropic resources," Chernyak said. "Latinos feel forgotten by philanthropy. They feel invisible. What we want to do is to make sure they loved, supported and respected."
Some of the funding will go toward helping farmworkers through direct cash assistance, rental support, digital literacy training, and access to mental health and wellness.
Organizations receiving those benefits include the California Farmworker Foundation, Campesinos Unidos and the Center for Farmworker Families, among others.
Additionally, funding will also go toward strengthening organizations that provide community support and emergency resources like the Immigrant Defense Advocates, Education and Leadership Foundation and Homeboy Industries.
Lastly, some funding will go toward organizations helping Latinos affected by wildfires, such as the North Bay Organizing Project, Movimiento Cultural de La Union Indigena, and Latino Health Access.
"We want change. Change means higher wages; change means access to high quality education, no matter where they come from; change means relief for people who lost everything in 2020," Chernyak said. "I think if anyone can rise from the ashes, it's the Latino community. They're going to rebuild this state."
More information about the Latino Community Foundation can be found at www.latinocf.org.