virus road sign

A highway sign along Seventh Street tells drivers where to get up to date information on the coronavirus pandemic in Long Beach.

Long Beach’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, meant to help residents, businesses and nonprofits survive the financial hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent stay-at-home mandates, has raised more than $1 million, officials announced Monday morning, April 13. About half of that money has already been doled out — primarily to nonprofits.

So far, the city said, more than $475,000 has gone to 31 nonprofits, which plan to use the money for everything from helping those at risk of becoming homeless to providing food to low-income people.

“Long Beach residents, businesses and foundations have risen to the occasion to help our city during this health crisis,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a Monday statement. “We are seeing unprecedented levels of compassion during these difficult times and I am so proud of the work that is being done through the nonprofits to support our community.”

The city created the fund, in partnership with the Long Beach Community Foundation, as a general disaster relief fund. But in mid-March, the city announced it would use the fund to aid folks affected by the coronavirus.

The fund began accepting donations on March 18.

The Community Foundation, meanwhile, identified five funding priorities. Those priorities are:

• Helping low-income folks affected by the pandemic pay critical expenses;

• Providing micro-loans and funds for small businesses;

• Giving emergency funds to workers who have lost their jobs;

• Assisting those who are homeless with shelter, food and sanitation supplies to help stem the virus’ spread;

• And providing food and delivering critical supplies to those who are home-bound.

Long Beach officials on Friday, April 10, extended the city’s “safer at home” order until May 15, as did Los Angeles County, meaning all non-essential businesses will remain closed and people won’t be able to gather in groups at least until then.

Officials on Monday announced two additional funding priorities. First, the relief fund will provide money to nonprofits that can support emergency medical workers, community clinics and hospitals in various ways. Second, the fund will support nonprofits that offer mental health and domestic-violence sheltering services.

“While federal and state assistance programs were being developed, the Long Beach Community Foundation set into motion both a funding stream and a process for quick deployment of resources,” Marcelle Epley, Long Beach Community Foundation president and CEO, said in a statement. “Careful advanced planning, an in-depth knowledge of the community and its nonprofits helped launch this program efficiently, which is benefiting thousands of Long Beach residents right now where the need is the greatest.”

There are several ways to donate:

• Text “SupportLB” to 501-55 and follow the prompts.

• Use PayPal online or the smartphone application to @SupportLB.

• Visit longbeachcf.org to fill out the secure online form to pay by credit card.

• Or send checks to Long Beach Community Foundation, 400 Oceangate, Suite 800, Long Beach, CA, 90802. Write “Long Beach Coronavirus Relief Fund” in the memo section.

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