COVID-19 Response Initiative
The COVID-19 pandemic reached Boston in March 2020 and led to widespread challenges among Boston residents with food insecurity, financial and job instability, social-emotional distresses, and more. As governments issued stay-at-home orders, social and economic activities ground to a halt, and local businesses were severely impacted – particularly small, independent businesses that are part of the fabric of their communities.
To strengthen further its commitment to its partner communities, Tufts Medical Center in April 2020 began an ongoing dialogue with community members and institutions in Chinatown, Dorchester, South Boston, and the local Asian community about the needs arising from the pandemic.
Several priorities emerged through these conversations, cutting across all communities:
- Financial stability and economic opportunities for individuals and families
- Access to sufficient, safe, and healthy food
- Access to providers who can support community members’ social and emotional wellness
- Resources to enable community-based nonprofits to meet greater demand for services and in new ways (e.g. virtual programming)
- Resources to support local businesses, which are significant employers and cultural institutions
- Access to knowledge, guidance, and resources for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19
In response to the needs mentioned above, the Office of Community Benefits and Community Health Initiatives (CBCHI) initiated two rounds of competitive grant initiatives for organizations in the neighborhoods of Chinatown, Dorchester, South End, and South Boston in 2020 and 2021. In May 2020, we launched the COVID-19 Community Needs Request for Proposal (RFP), which resulted in almost $300,000 distributed among 23 community organizations addressing short- and medium-term COVID-19 related needs. In June 2021, we initiated the Community Relief and Recovery RFP focused on continuous and sustainable economic recovery, which is supporting 22 organizations with $700,000.