Relief fund launched by city, nonprofit in response to coronavirus pandemic

Workers finding themselves out of a job due to coronavirus-related business closures will soon find relief thanks to a new fund the city launched today in partnership with the Long Beach Community Foundation.

The Long Beach Coronavirus Relief Fund will provide grants to area nonprofits who can quickly provide service to Long Beach residents impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know that people are struggling, we know that low income workers need to pay rent and get food, seniors and people with disabilities need our support. Small businesses need our support,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a video announcing the fund.

Through a grant application expected to launch in the coming days, nonprofits will be able to apply for funding.

The community foundation will select the grantees and determine the amount provided based on the type of need and the amount of funds raised.

So far, about $143,000 has been raised for the relief fund from existing community foundation fund holders and board members in the last 24 hours.

“Our priority is to be as accessible as possible to receive donations,” the foundation’s President and CEO Marcelle Epley said. “Any amount will help those in need.”

Epley said funds will be granted to organizations that are most qualified to help people in the community impacted by COVID-19.

The fund is a secure way for those wanting to help during the pandemic to donate without worrying about fraudulent organizations, Epley noted.

It is also meant to be broad so that if new needs arise, it can change and be flexible, Epley said.

Epley said she approached city leaders about creating a disaster relief fund last year after multiple disasters struck throughout the country and wanted the city to be prepared if another disaster occurred.

“This is one of those times,” Epley said.

Community members wanting relief should reach out to local nonprofits like Urban Community Outreach, which helps with rental assistance, or the Long Beach Community Table, which provides food to those in need.

Those interested in donating can visit longbeachcf.org,  text “SupportLB” to 501-55, pay via PayPal to @SupportLB, or send a check to the Long Beach Community Foundation, 400 Oceangate, Suite 800, Long Beach, CA 90802. Write Long Beach Coronavirus Relief Fund in the memo section.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. Growing up as one of six kids in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate, she was taught the importance of civic engagement and to show compassion for others. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015. An avid Harry Potter fan, Stephanie now lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin.
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