REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – More than 1,000 donors have contributed a total of $8.2 million to the San Mateo County Strong Fund, which provides grants to individuals and families, small businesses and nonprofit groups impacted by COVID-19.
“We are pleased to see that so many donors have opened their checkbooks to help those who are really struggling during this unprecedented pandemic,” said Warren Slocum, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
“Every dollar donated to the San Mateo County Strong Fund goes to those most in need. Seeing our community pull together like this – neighbor helping neighbor – is heartwarming and so important,” he said.
The Board of Supervisors today received an update on the fund, which they voted to create less than two months ago with $3 million in seed money from the Measure K local sales tax. Since then the fund has grown to $8.24 million with donations directed to three categories:
- $1,998,991 million toward individuals and families to help cover basic household expenses
- $3,668,183 million to small, local businesses to help them avoid layoffs and stay open or reopen
- $1,912,234 million toward nonprofit organizations that provide services to our most vulnerable residents
- And $650,000 in undesignated funds.
Individuals and Families
To date, 2,314 individuals and families have applied for emergency financial relief through one of eight core service agencies, which provide safety-net services under contract with the County.
Applications are currently under review for eligibility requirements that include income thresholds and a demonstrated financial hardship resulting from COVID-19.
A total of 213 applications from local nonprofit agencies were received by the May 11 deadline to apply. Eligible grantees will be notified by May 25 if they qualify for emergency relief, Deputy County Manager Peggy Jensen reported to the Board.
“Our process to select the nonprofits that will be awarded a grant is based on a rating system that includes the population served and geographic distribution,” Jensen said. “A reflection of the Board’s commitment to social equity is seen in the most heavily weighted category which is rated 1 to 12 with the highest rating going to programs that will serve our residents most in need."
A total of $1.4 million in grant funding has been awarded to 142 eligible small businesses that demonstrated hardship related to COVID-19, reported Rosanne Foust, president and CEO of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA), which is helping to raise funds and administer grants.
The goal is to provide emergency grants, through the San Mateo Credit Union Community Fund, to support small, local businesses in their efforts to provide payroll for employees, maintain operations, meet ongoing obligations and survive the economic impacts of California’s Shelter in Place order. Grant funding is awarded to eligible applicants in an amount equivalent to two months of operating expenses, not to exceed $10,000, and subject to availability of funds.
A sampling of recipients includes a children’s party playhouse in Daly City, an indoor athletic facility in North Fair Oaks, a cultural exchange program in Millbrae, a pet hospital in Foster City and a preschool in Redwood City.
"We are so grateful to the San Mateo Credit Union and our collaboration with the County and the cities. Everyone has really had a touch on this whole process and we at SAMCEDA feel very fortunate to work with such great people," Foust said.
Additional applications are under review.
Donors can direct their contributions to the three categories on the drop-down menu on the San Mateo County Strong website: www.smcstrong.org
All contributions to the fund are treated as gifts to a public charity and are generally tax deductible, subject to individual limitations.