Rihanna's Clara Lionel Foundation, in partnership with Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey's #startsmall initiative, has announced grants totaling $15 million in support of efforts to address racial injustice and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grants were awarded to nonprofits working to address mental health issues, food insecurity, income loss, and the needs of individuals excluded from federal stimulus programs, with a focus on Chicago and Newark, New Jersey. According to CLF, Newark has one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, while racial disparities in Chicago are contributing to disproportionate rates of infection and death in African Americans and Latinx neighborhoods. At the same time, mental health and suicide prevention support providers — especially those serving children, at-risk students, and LGBTQ youth — have seen a dramatic rise in demand for their services nationally.
Recipients in the Chicago area include Bright Star Community Outreach, which will use the funds to provide rental assistance, expanded trauma support services, and nutritious food to low-income families; Network's Crisis Response Fund, in support of its efforts to meet the basic needs of victims and survivors of domestic violence; the Greater Chicago Food Depository, in support of its network of seven hundred pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters; West Side United, which is working to mitigate the high rates of COVID-related illness and death in the city's Black and Latinx communities; the Chicago Parks Foundation, in support of its Summer COVID-19 Youth Corps; and the Resurrection Project's Cash Assistance Fund, which provides assistance to the more than three hundred and forty thousand Chicagoans who are ineligible for federal stimulus programs.
In Newark, grants were awarded to Newark Working Kitchens, through World Central Kitchen, for the distribution of a hundred and fifty thousand meals to food-insecure households; the La Casa de Don Pedro Rental Relief Program, which will provide three months' rental payments, help with basic needs, and housing counseling to three hundred families; and the Newark Emergency Services for Families, in support of its drop-in center for the homeless, food pantry and meal programs, and rental and utility assistance. The New Jersey-based Stadler Family Foundation will match the grants awarded in Newark.
Other recipients include the Child Mind Institute, which use the funds to support first responder consultation calls, crisis response in New York City public schools, capacity-building training for educators, and expanded access to treatment for at-risk students; the JED Foundation, which is providing virtual mental health consultations and trainings for young people and parents to recognize when a youth needs help; and the Trevor Project, which will use the funds to expand its remote crisis teams, recruit and train digital volunteers for its crisis helpline and social media platform, and strengthen its data security protocols.
(Photo credit: Greater Chicago Food Depository)