The Desert Healthcare District and Foundation Board of Directors approved on Tuesday, March 24, allocating $1,376,380 to support collective efforts in combating COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the Coachella Valley. The Board also authorized CEO Dr. Conrado Bárzaga to bring additional requests for funding as a “real time” response to the quickly changing effects and needs of the pandemic.
In his proposal to the Board, Dr. Bárzaga explained the District would fund a multi-pronged, collective-impact strategy, ranging from financial support for federally qualified health clinics that are challenged by the pandemic to working with at least 20 organizations to provide human service providers with what they need.
“These are unprecedented times,” Dr. Bárzaga said. “These are times that require decisive measures to ensure the Coachella Valley is a vibrant place. We are honored that other organizations are joining the District in its efforts; we are seeing collective impact in action.”
The partners that the District has joined forces with include the Regional Access Project Foundation (RAP), Lift to Rise, United Way of the Desert, Desert Care Network, Borrego Health, Desert Oasis Healthcare, Desert Aids Project, Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, Riverside University Health System, the Office of County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, and many others.
Here’s how the funding allocation breaks down:
$550,000 for a “healthcare safety net infrastructure” to prevent hospital emergency rooms from being overwhelmed by people seeking care to ensure federally qualified health centers are responsive to patients’ needs. (Additionally, the RAP Foundation would provide a $50,000 match for a total of $600,000)
$401,380 for FIND Food Bank, the valley’s regional food bank, which has established seven rapid-response mobile units and plans to operate six more mobile units across the valley.
$100,000 for an economic protection plan, with an additional $50,000 from the RAP Foundation and $50,000 from Lift to Rise, $25,000 from United Way of the Desert and $15,000 from Inland Empire Community Foundation. The collective contributions will be used as seed money to leverage additional dollars from private donors and foundations; the economic protection plan will help low-income families affected by COVID-19. Recipients would receive a one-time allocation of $200 per household to help with rent, utilities, food and other essentials. County agencies will also contribute with a variety of assistance services. Lift to Rise will administer the program.
$200,000 in support of human service providers. Additionally, the RAP Foundation would provide a $100,000 match for a total of $300,000. This funding allocation will provide grants up to $10,000 for basic needs, such as clothing, food, water and other items for at least 30 organizations. This fund will contribute to the health and well-being of vulnerable members of our community, including seniors, medically compromised people, and communities with limited access to essential services.
$50,000 for an educational campaign to counter misinformation and raise awareness among the public about COVID-19 prevention and care.
$75,000 to support organizations serving the homeless and migrant worker communities. Three organizations were selected to be eligible for $25,000 each: Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Martha’s Village and Kitchen, and Galilee Center. The fund will provide core operation support, such as staffing, food, clothing and other supplies needed in housing the homeless and migrant workers.
During the meeting, some Board Directors expressed optimism that the Coachella Valley will receive federal funds from the $2 trillion recently allocated in response to COVID-19, but supported moving forward with the CEO’s recommendations above.
For updates on the District and Foundation’s efforts, please follow us at dhcd.org, Facebook and Instagram.
About the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation
The Desert Healthcare District is a local government agency formed in 1948. Its mission is to achieve optimal health at all stages of life for all District residents. The District includes more than 400,000 residents and encompasses the entire Coachella Valley. The District and Desert Healthcare Foundation, together, are one of the largest funders in the valley. These funds are used to assist residents — especially the underserved — in accessing vitally needed resources, such as primary and behavioral healthcare, housing, food and transportation resources.