I would love to take credit for Blue Shield of California Foundation’s (BSCF) COVID-19 and Racial Equity grants, but I have to acknowledge the great work of our Program Managers, Jelissa Parham, Hilary Smith, and Glenda Monterroza, and Program Coordinator Maria Garcia Chinn. This set of grants was designed to support work rooted in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities to address the current COVID-19 crisis and also work toward systemic redesign and upstream solutions. To say these grants were successful is an understatement—the final set of grantees serve a wide range of Californians with unique aspirations including: Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander, immigrant, farmworker, regional, and rural communities. We also supported grants to two national organizations, the NDN Collective, which works with Native communities, and Grantmakers for Girls of Color. When invited to write about our work for Grantmakers In Health, I connected with the team to explore how they identified a set of grants that was responsive to the moment while also seeking to increase health and equitable opportunity for communities of color over the long term.

These grants were built on BSCF’s recent experience with COVID-19 grantmaking. Glenda Monterroza noted that we became nimbler and more responsive by working with community foundations. “They were incredible partners in quickly deploying resources out to communities,” said Monterroza.

A detailed analysis of our COVID-19 funding revealed that the foundation’s support began to decrease in the fall, at a time when the pandemic’s impact was continuing to grow, particularly in BIPOC communities. Our team also identified geographic pockets that were impacted differently by the pandemic, such as the Central Valley and Los Angeles. Through further analysis, the team determined the key populations whose health was most impacted by COVID-19, including immigrants, farmworkers and other essential workers, Black communities, and Indigenous communities.

Read the full article about racial equity in COVID-19 funding by Tc Duong at Grantmakers In Health.