Supporting our Safety Net Community
The presence of the COVID-19 virus in Montgomery County is a daunting reality for all of us. The implications of the pandemic are both personal and professional. We are all trying to cope with the stress of school and business closures, loss of routines and disconnects from our families, peers and friends. We are all learning about the virus, containment strategies and seeking information to develop and deploy meaningful solutions. We hope you are taking the time to care for yourselves, your teams, and your families while this situation unfolds.
At HealthSpark, we wanted to provide a brief update on how we're responding to the COVID-19 crisis and supporting our nonprofit partners as they feel the impacts on their businesses and programs:
Evaluating immediate grant support for COVID-19 response
In coordination with our local and regional philanthropic partners, we plan to contribute to a MontCo COVID-19 Response Fund that is under development. We are prioritizing a simple, quick process that will minimize burdensome application requirements and quickly place funds in the hands of health & human services nonprofit organizations. We hope to release plans on these efforts next week.
Closing HealthSpark Foundation offices and the Community Partners Center for Health and Human Services
In accordance with the Governor's recommendations to close non-essential businesses, our Foundation's offices have closed. Staff are working remotely and accessible via email and cell. All meetings have been moved to a virtual setting. The Community Partners Center meeting spaces are closed to outside tenants until further notice as well.
Delaying our next Innovation Lab Grant RFP
While we had intended to open our Innovation Lab Grant RFP by the end of this month, we are postponing this until later this spring given the demands on safety net providers who need to focus their work to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 virus on clients, consumers, partners and co-workers.
Postponing planned training courses
We have canceled the March meeting of the System Leadership Capacity Building program and will re-evaluate future workshop dates in a few weeks. We will continue to be guided by the recommendations of the CDC, Governor Wolf and our local county commissioners and state/county health departments. We have postponed the FMA financial management course that was set to begin in late March until the fall.
If there are additional ways we can support your work, please reach out to us directly. We are actively listening to our partners to learn about emerging needs and using your voices to guide our efforts forward.
We are enormously grateful to our nonprofit and government partners that are working tirelessly to care for, feed, shelter, and counsel our neighbors across the county. This crisis has demonstrated that the social safety net is a truly vital component of our community, and highlights how the work to strengthen the financial resiliency of the safety net system is needed now more than ever. While we are focusing our immediate efforts on mitigating the negative impacts of this crisis and encouraging our funding partners to do the same, we are energized to continue our long-term, collaborative, system-changing efforts when the time is right.