April 27, 2020

Spotlight on Imperial County

Impact of COVID-19

Imperial County is a highly productive agricultural area, providing $2 billion in vegetables, fruit, livestock, and other commodities annually. In fact, two-thirds of the vegetables consumed in the U.S. during the winter are grown in Imperial County.

As of April 27, Imperial County was reporting 281 confirmed COVID-19 cases; 8 deaths; 67 recovered and 1,563 patients tested. Compared with other counties like San Diego, these numbers appear small. However, with a total county population of only 190,000 (83% Latinx) and a chronic level of health, economic and environmental challenges which exceed state averages, this rural, low-income community is struggling with the extra burden of COVID-19.

Response to COVID-19

In early April, the Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation (IVWF), in partnership with Alliance Healthcare FoundationCalifornia Wellness FoundationCalifornia Health Care Foundation and The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, launched an immediate COVID-19 Response Fund for nonprofit organizations that primarily serve Imperial County. An overwhelming number of applications were received for the one-time grant, ranging from $5,000-$50,000.

We’re pleased to report that the Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation (IVWF) has awarded COVID-19 Response grants totaling $265,000 to 12 nonprofits that are serving vulnerable populations within Imperial County, especially those disproportionately impacted by unemployment and other economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. As additional funds are raised, more grants will be made.

Funds will be used to support efforts related to food insecurity, basic supplies, rental, mortgage and utility assistance, and other emergency needs.

While this infusion of support was critically needed and appreciated, there is much more need. Funders are urgently needed to join us. Contact us by email.

Imperial County COVID-19 Response Grantees

Cancer Resource Center of the Desert $15,000
Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego $50,000
Cody’s Closet $5,000
House of Bread Ministries $5,000
Imperial Valley College Foundation $10,000
Imperial Valley Food Bank $50,000
Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center $5,000
Spread the Love Charity $20,000
The Salvation Army $50,000
Turning Point Men’s Home, Inc. $5,000
United Way of Imperial County $5,000
WomanHaven – A Center for Family Solutions $45,000

Comments from Grantees

logo for imperial valley food bank“At a time when the Imperial Valley Food Bank is being called on to support our community more than ever, it is encouraging to see support come to help us in that effort. We are grateful for the work of the Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation to provide immediate funding for COVID-19 related outreach. The grant funding will help defray the cost of food purchases and additional operational expenses we are currently experiencing.” – Sara Griffen, Executive Director, Imperial Valley Food Bank

logo for salvation army

“Over the last few weeks, The Salvation Army has distributed 2,499 meals, 645 snacks, 2,597 beverages, 796 boxes of food, and spent 882 staff and volunteer hours serving those in need in Imperial Valley. This grant will help us meet the increase in demand. 80% of funding will be used to purchase food supplies and 20% will help us with some administration expenses, such as staff hours.” – Lt. Colonel John Chamness, The Salvation Army



logo for catholic charities

“The Emergency Food Distribution Network was created amidst the pandemic because we knew individuals and families would be greatly affected by the stay-at-home order that created restricted accessibility to food coupled with the unexpected loss of jobs and reduction in income. This grant enables Catholic Charities to further our efforts to feed 12,175 individuals in Imperial County each month. Our organization is working diligently to feed as many people as we can during this pandemic and after. Today, at this unprecedented moment our faith calls us to act and stand in solidarity with those in need by giving them hope and sharing our love.” – Appaswamy “Vino” Pajanor, Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego

logo for woman haven

“COVID -19 took us by surprise. We are in dire need of necessary equipment to facilitate technology for staff to serve clients electronically and constant need for supplies such as wipes, hand sanitizers, disinfectant sprays, soap, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc. Victims of domestic violence have been knocking at our door for refuge and legal services. Funding will allow us to continue the essential services and keep survivors and their children safe; to voice our services and convey the message through social media, and allow us to provide clients with assistance for rent, mortgage, utilities, and cell phone to help them establish permanent housing and or maintain a safe home.” – Gina Vargas, Executive Director, WomanHaven


Challenge Grant Extended for Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation 

The Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation (IVWF) has received an extension on the Alliance Healthcare Foundation challenge grant. The new timeline runs through September 2021. The extension is in response to the shift in fundraising focus to the COVID-19 emergency.

IVWF is a tax-exempt public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, formed to advance the health and wellness of vulnerable populations in Imperial County. The San Diego-based Alliance Healthcare Foundation, nationally recognized for its innovative health and wellness initiatives, has offered a $7.5 million matching grant to endow IVWF and has provided other direct funding to support start-up operations and initial grant making. Wholly independent from Alliance Healthcare Foundation and locally governed by its own board of trustees, the Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation is raising an additional $17.5 million through a national capital campaign to create a $25 million endowment that will fund local programs and activities in perpetuity.

AHF Media contact:
Karen Winston, Communications Director, Alliance Healthcare Foundation
P 858-348-6472 E karen.winston@alliancehf.org

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