Our board initially approved an allocation of $2.5 million to address COVID-19 and then quickly increased that to $10 million for testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), clear messaging, and financial support for nonprofits, schools, and businesses hindered by the mandatory shutdown. We developed a five-prong strategy, reflecting our four strategic priorities with equity components embedded in each.
Included distribution of COVID-19 test kits, testing events in Hispanic/Latino and African American communities, Spanish translation of news articles, safety multi-media campaigns, an online screening tool, and creation of a dedicated local testing lab.
Included over $3 million worth of PPE and equipment, rural distribution of PPE, partnership with companies to shift production lines and create permanent, dedicated source of mask production.
Included WiFi hotspots for schools, pre-packaged meals for vulnerable populations, the safe reopening of universities, homeless shelter needs, and food distribution.
Included $125,000 in the WNC Community Foundation Emergency Response Fund , $100,000 in the One Buncombe Fund, and a purchase of laptops for United Way’s 211 system.
Included partnership with Mountain BizWorks to support rural, minority, and women-led nonprofits and small businesses for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans with a total investment of $11 million (since repaid) and investment of $2 million in the NC Rural Center Rapid Recovery Fund in partnership with Golden Leaf Foundation.