Help for Oregonians Impacted by COVID-19
Three emergency pooled funds for pandemic relief provided grants to nonprofits supporting small businesses, arts and culture, and a range of critical services to Oregonians most affected by the pandemic.
Oregon Community Recovery Grants
Grants provided $13.6 million to fund basic services, child care, education, housing, mental health and other needs for communities facing disproportionate impacts of the pandemic. Population-specific community action teams made up of community leaders provided valuable guidance and insight.
Small Business Stabilization Grants
Grants provided $2.6 million to nonprofit lenders to offer emergency grants, low-interest and no-interest loans, and technical assistance to small businesses dealing with reduced sales and revenue.
Arts and Culture Recovery Program
Grants provided $5.1 million in awards to arts organizations affected by COVID-19. These grants aimed to reach as many groups as possible, with a focus on communities of color, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, and rural, LGBTQ+ and low-income populations.
COVID-19 RESPONSE AT A GLANCE
In Pooled Fund Contributions
Students and Educators Adapt
The shift to remote learning that began in spring 2020 required adaptations from teachers, parents, students and school administrators, but inequitable access to programs, support, internet access and devices left many students and families struggling. Funding from OCF helped bridge these access gaps. Oregon Parenting Education Hubs switched to online classes and workshops, distributed family activity packages and saw parent participation numbers climb in many areas. OCF funded STEM Hubs for home-based, hands-on activity packets, licensing for online platforms, and technical support. Out-of-school time programs adapted with safe protocols, outdoor activities and support for at-home learning.
Donor Support Keeps Arts and Culture Alive
Arts, culture and creative resilience shined throughout 2020, bolstered by donor support. As the pandemic shuttered theaters, galleries and museums—and lost revenue from canceled fundraising events strained artists and cultural organizations—donors came forward to preserve Oregon’s vibrant arts community. OCF facilitated the Arts and Culture Recovery Program, which pooled funding from seven organizations and many individual donors to support the adaptive capacity of arts and culture organizations imperiled by the pandemic. Donors also gave to programs supporting individual artists with much-needed relief. Arts and culture giving in 2020 totaled $18.6 million and supported 417 organizations and 646 individual artists.
Project Turnkey: An Innovative Housing Solution
OCF became the fiscal agent for Project Turnkey, an innovative way to meet emergent housing needs throughout the state in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires and beyond. The state of Oregon approved $65 million to purchase and transform motels into facilities that can provide at-risk and unhoused community members—including those displaced by fires—a safe place to quarantine and shelter. In the long term, these properties can provide transitional or permanent supportive housing.
Oregon Reckons with Race and Opportunity
The 2020 crises compounded existing inequities rooted in systemic racism, with disproportionate impacts on BIPOC, low-income and rural Oregonians. Every sector of society we support is grappling with the need for systems change to address these inequities, including education, arts and culture, housing, business infrastructure and health care.
In addition to input from diverse statewide community advisory teams, our grantmaking, programs and advocacy are informed by “Cornerstones: Economic Mobility and Belonging in Oregon,” a research report commissioned by OCF that looks at neighborhood-level economic data and community experiences to determine what helps children in high-opportunity neighborhoods succeed.
The findings reveal key areas for investment and policy change that will create more high opportunity neighborhoods: economically integrated neighborhoods, quality schools, living-wage jobs and social capital.
These findings also inform our grantmaking, programs and advocacy and will provide a framework to bring communities together in support of economic and racial equity.
Support for Oregonians Impacted by Fires
Oregon’s devastating September fires killed nine people, burned more than 1 million acres and destroyed more than 4,000 homes in eight counties. Donors quickly responded, sending support directly to organizations serving the immediate needs of those impacted by fires.
The Community Rebuilding Fund was established at the request of Governor Kate Brown and launched in partnership with Meyer Memorial Trust and The Ford Family Foundation to support longer-term rebuilding. The fund quickly garnered $6.4 million in gifts from 1,448 donors nationwide.