Bronx community, political and business leaders have announced an initiative to raise $10 million to assist Bronx residents and businesses most in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Already, $4 million has been raised and is being distributed.
The coalition of residents, government officials, nonprofits and small businesses said the funds would be used to fill gaps in public financing and other grant programs, and that funds would be distributed “in real time.”
“We will overcome these difficult times,” said Assembly member Michael Blake in a news release issued Tuesday, “and while we address the immediate challenges of the moment, we will lay the foundation in our community for future success to show that we believe in the Bronx and will continue building a better Bronx.”
Relief efforts organized shortly after the pandemic hit by Derrick Lewis, senior manager at financial services firm Ernst and Young, have raised $4 million towards the $10 million goal. Those funds have been put to use, providing meals to Bronxites, small grants to CUNY students, and tech support and equipment for K-12 students, organizers said in the news release.
The fund’s creators said money could be distributed quickly across eight areas of need, with the assistance of local partners:
- Food Insecurity: $2 million to deliver 50,000 meals a day. Partners are World Central Kitchen, Here to Here and Bronx Private Industry Council.
- Small Business Relief: $1.5 million, to distribute grants of $5,000 to $25,000 to 100 to 175 small businesses. Partners are Third Avenue BID and Spring Bank.
- Microgrants to individuals in need: $1.5 million for small grants of $250-$750 to more than 2,000 Bronxites in crisis. Partners are CUNY, the Third Avenue BID and Spring Bank.
- Personal Protective Equipment for frontline responders: $1 million. Partners are Montefiore and St. Barnabas Hospitals and NYC Health & Hospitals.
- Nonprofit Economic Relief: $1 million, for 50 – 75 grants of between $5,000 – $50,000. Partner is Hostos Center for Bronx Nonprofits.
- Connectivity and Technology Gaps: $1 million to provide 1,000 Chrome books and hot spots and establish a community help desk and tech support hub. Partners are Here to Here, DreamYard, Per Scholas, Knowledge House and others.
- Equity and Justice: $1 million for legal support to 2,000 Bronx residents in criminal and civil , child welfare and immigration cases during the pandemic. Partners are Bronx Defenders, Legal Aid Society and others.
- Housing Stability: $1 million to provide social work, health and financial supports to 2,500 Bronx residents. Partners include Nos Quedamos, WHEDCo, New Settlement, Phipps Neighborhoods and others.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., is among the relief effort’s partners. Others not previously named include the James and Judith Dimon Foundation, state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, Mott Haven Bar & Grill, Beatstro, Children’s Aid Society, Wildlife Conservation Society, We Stay/Nos Quedamos, Inc., Dominicanos USA, Assembly member Nathalia Fernandez, Bronx Drafthouse, and others.
“This is a Bronx effort for The Bronx and one in which I am proud to take part,” said Third Avenue BID CEO Michael Brady.
Jessica Clemente, CEO of We Stay/Nos Quedamos, echoed that sentiment. “We are building a mechanism that supports community self-sufficiency, empowerment and elevation – leading from within The Bronx for The Bronx!”
Those wishing further information or to donate can visit thebronx.org or write a check to The DreamYard Project, the fund’s fiscal sponsor, at 1085 Washington Avenue in Morrisania.