Neighborhood Allies’ COVID Accelerated Relief Effort (CARE) Package
To Our Pittsburgh Family:
Like many organizations and leaders in the region, Neighborhood Allies has been working diligently to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis in a manner that is both strategic and effective. The purpose of this message is to share with the community several specific actions Neighborhood Allies has taken. With each of these important measures we continue our mission of supporting the people, organizations, and partnerships committed to creating and maintaining healthy neighborhoods.
- Beyond the Laptops Initiative: We began by working with Computer Reach, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Technology Council, and Pittsburgh Public Schools to refurbish and distribute 1,000 laptops to families impacted by the closure of public facilities and the ever-growing digital divide. But as the story spread, it quickly became clear that Pittsburghers needed more devices, network access, and wrap-around supports to weave it all together. That’s when self-driving car company Aurora stepped in to help. They built a coalition of companies and foundations to donate funds, hardware, and expertise, initiating the ‘Beyond the Laptops’ challenge. We have secured a challenge grant fund worth $200,000. With your help, we can unlock these funds dollar-for-dollar. Donate at beyondthelaptops.org.
- Economic Opportunity Team Rapid Response: We have been working closely with our partners to ensure that the Pittsburgh area has immediate access to relevant financial resources and information. Through phone and video sessions, our Financial Opportunity Centers and Financial Empowerment Centers are available to assist individuals and small businesses with immediate financial needs, longer term issues, and accessing public benefits. We have also created an Allegheny County Financial Resources guide and are promoting several safe, certified online bank accounts for those who need access to direct deposit at this time.
- E-commerce Development Assistance for Small Businesses: Our Senior Program Manager for Corridor Revitalization is working closely with neighborhood partners in Homewood to provide small businesses and organizations with assistance in developing an online presence in order to sell giftcards or other merchandise while physically closed.We have recently formed a partnership with the URA to expand this program beyond Homewood which we are now calling the ‘Get Online and Grow Online’ small business program.
- CARE Fund: We are putting $100,000 into a Covid Accelerated Relief Effort (CARE) Fund. The fund will provide emergency grants to nonprofits in our 6 priority neighborhoods in amounts of $10,000 each in order to address the greatest, most immediate needs. Due to the limited dollars available to us, we are only able to accept applications to the CARE fund from existing partners, such as past grantees and collaborators, who are based in one of our 6 priority neighborhoods. If you have questions about your eligibility, reach out to a Neighborhood Allies staff member or our Manager of Grants and Investments, Cait Lee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Paycheck Protection Program Assistance: Neighborhood Allies is continuing to monitor the situation surrounding the CARES Act and the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program. We are working to establish relationships with lenders to ensure the system serves small businesses in vulnerable neighborhoods often left behind or forgotten. Neighborhood Allies proposes an intervention that will (1) identify and work with SBA Lending Partners who will commit to processing the applications of our program participants in a timely manner, and (2) create a system of Technical Assistance delivery to guide small, disadvantaged businesses and qualifying community organizations into, and through, the Paycheck Protection Program. Currently, we are strategically partnering with First Commonwealth Bank as a lending partner and working to train our Financial Empowerment Center counselors to assist businesses and organizations in completing the application.
- Love My Neighbor! Program: The grassroots grantmaking program provides grants of $500 to $2,500 to residents in our focus neighborhoods. While the deadline to apply has already closed, we are continuing to move the program forward by working closely with the Grassroots Grantmaking Committee and making the necessary adjustments to ensure that residents continue to have an opportunity for their projects to be funded.
At Neighborhood Allies, we envision a Pittsburgh with healthy neighborhoods that are thriving, resilient and livable for all. During this difficult time, these immediate measures ensure this vision remains the focal point of our work. As always, we will continue serving as a partner and ally by bringing new ideas, expertise, resources, and hope to our communities.
Presley Gillespie, President of Neighborhood Allies