STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — The city of Stockton is helping the helpers with the launch of a new COVID-19 community support fund.
More than $3 million was made available to nonprofits in the city that help prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s like a breath of fresh air and it feels like a window has opened,” said Kristen Birtwhistle, CEO of United Way of San Joaquin County. “This is a lifesaver for a lot of our organizations.”
Birtwhistle told FOX40 the extra money will help nonprofits who have had to scale back services since the pandemic began.
“It’s giving a lot of our nonprofits, honestly, a second chance,” she said. “This funding will help them keep their doors open, will allow us to feed more families than ever before.”
From distributing personal protective equipment to migrant farmworkers to housing the homeless, United Way works with a number of other Stockton-based nonprofits to help those who need it most.
“We’d like to work more with the farming community and testing more for COVID-19 and really push education around COVID-19 prevention to slow the spread,” Birtwhistle said.
According to the city, $3.5 million in coronavirus relief aid and CARES Act funding will be awarded to organizations that support the community, provide housing and services to the homeless, or support distance learning and educational support.
“Stockton is the most diverse city in the nation and that means we have the most diverse population and the most diverse nonprofits,” said Stockton Economic Development Director Carrie Wright. “And so, we want to make sure that our reach is very deep into the community and that we access as many as possible and fund them for how they serve the community.”
Wright said nonprofits can apply for grants for as much as $500,000.
“We want to make sure that they’re still here through the crisis and afterwards to be able to serve the community,” she told FOX40. “So, anything that we can do to support them, we’re going to do it.”
Nonprofit organizations have until Sept. 23 to apply for those grants.
The city says their goal is to disperse that money as soon as they can.