Amid Coronavirus Outbreak City-led Coalition to Raise Funds for Economic Relief

By Cecily Hastings
March 23, 2020

The city of Sacramento just announced a new fundraising effort to help small businesses, families, nonprofits and homeless individuals amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced the new fundraising campaign Monday morning, alongside community groups that will administer parts of the relief effort. The coalition includes Sierra Health Foundation, United Way California Capital Region, the Central Labor Council, the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce and Sacramento Area Congregations Together.

The “Donate 4 Sacramento” campaign will be soliciting donations from businesses and individuals to help those who have been economically hit by the coronavirus, and the shutdown of many of the businesses in the state and region.
The fund has $340,000 as of the first day of its launch. The initial donations included $150,000 from Health Net, $150,000 from Sierra Health Foundation, $30,000 from Comcast Corp. and $10,000 from the Teichert Foundation.
Donors will be able to specify where their donations go. The contributions can be used in one of five ways:

  • Support for families via United Way’s local relief fund to provide child care, meals and rental assistance.
  • Support for small businesses via the city of Sacramento’s emergency economic relief loan program, which provides zero-interest loans.
  • Support for homeless individuals via nonprofits that are looking to set up emergency shelters and hygiene stations.
  • Support for nonprofits via the Sacramento Region Community Foundation’s disaster fund.
  • General support to provide flexible funding in the previous categories or “wherever it is most needed.”

The funds will be administered by Sierra Health Foundation, Sacramento Region Community Foundation, United Way California Capital Region and the city of Sacramento.

Donations can be made at . The city and the Sierra Health Foundation plan to publish where the funds are coming from, and where the funds go, on their websites.

The campaign is intended to be a “rapid response fund,” said Chet Hewitt, CEO of the Sierra Health Foundation.

“While it will be transparent and inclusive, we’re also going to move quickly,” Hewitt said. “There are families who need food, now. There are families who need rental assistance, now. There are people who are not working, now.”

The need for economic relief has been palpable among small businesses. Over the course of 48 hours, from Wednesday to Friday last week, the city received 1,398 applications for a piece of $1 million in economic relief funds that the city made available last week.

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