On March 16th, Mayor London Breed announced a shelter-in-place mandate for the San Francisco Area. Her decisive leadership and action helped stave off major outbreaks in the fourth largest city of California—an action that has saved thousands of lives. Anticipating the state would move in the same direction, the Latino Community Foundation moved quickly to establish a fund that would ease the economic pain this move would cause on the most marginalized and vulnerable communities.
On March 17th, the Latino Community Foundation established the Love Not Fear Fund. The primary purpose of the Fund is to support Latino and immigrant families impacted by an economic fallout of this public health crisis—from undocumented workers, farmworkers, Latino families and seniors in rural parts of the state. To lift up the stories from community leaders already in place to ensure loss wages didn’t translate into missed meals for children and their parents. On April 7th, LCF hosted a Direct Line to the Frontlines event, where our community leaders shared their experiences, their needs, and their actions with a broader network of Latino philanthropists.
Our commitment to support our Latino-led nonprofits pushed us to do more. On April 13th, we partnered with Armanino to host a training session for nonprofits to access the federal loan programs made available by the CARES Act. We simultaneously partnered with Prospera to co-host a convening for over 95 Latina entrepreneurs to connect them to resources and provide them with a space to support and encourage one another through this challenging time.
Yet, through all of this, we have not lost sight of systemic and structural changes that have made it possible for segments of our population to remain marginalized, locked out of access to capital, and one paycheck away from economic calamity. Throughout these past four weeks, LCF partnered with organizations and institutions committed to social justice to fight for public resources and just policies.
If there is ever a time to dismantle the policies that have led to deep and persistent inequities that put people’s lives at risk — IT IS NOW.
Here’s what we’ve got done so far:
• LCF joined 40 philanthropic partners to advocate for state funding for immigrant workers—including undocumented workers—that have lost their jobs as a result of this public health crisis. Most undocumented workers contribute in state and local taxes—the least we can do is provide financial aid to these workers. Nearly 5 million U.S. citizen children live in household with an undocumented parent—these are families that have no access to any type of federal aid. California’s Governor Newsom responded and established a relief fund with $75 million in state fund and $50 million to be raised by philanthropy. The first in the nation. This was the first step in ensuring that our undocumented communities receive some level of support during this pandemic.
• Recognizing that $125 million would only go as far as supporting 150,000 families, LCF joined advocates and other Latino-led grassroots organizations calling for the expansion of Medi-Cal to our undocumented seniors, the expansion of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to all working families regardless of their citizenship status, and the expansion of unemployment benefits to all workers. Latinos and immigrants perform the largest share of essential jobs—from the service and food industry—yet when they become expendable, our undocumented workers have no access to financial assistance.
• With a looming decision from the United States Supreme Court on the DACA Program, LCF moved quickly to send letters to Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris calling on our representatives to protect our Dreamers. A similar letter was sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi in partnership with the National Latino Funds Alliance. More than 27,000 of them are currently working as part of the healthcare sector and providing lifesaving care to COVID-19 patients.
• Without skipping a beat, LCF continues to be at the forefront of achieving a fair and accurate census count for California. We held a virtual Census Day Event featuring singer and songwriter Diana Gameros with our nonprofits leaders to organize our communities to complete the Census and used our social media platforms and zoom convenings to host events with Latino small-business owners throughout these past three weeks.
To read more about these efforts take a look at Inside Philanthropy, Los Angeles Times, and the Sacramento Bee.
LCF will continue to lift up the voices of our people, build power in our communities, and ensure that all Californians have the opportunity to prosper in our state. This current public health crisis along with its economic fallout has made this fight for equity and justice more urgent and critical.
A Just California is not only possible—it is vital to livelihood of all 40+ million people who live and work in the Golden State. Be a part of the change.