21 Jan $11.3 MILLION GRANTED TO SUPPORT SMALL MIAMI-DADE NONPROFITS
“This grant award made it possible to feed families, in particular the families of low income, immigrants, refugees and migrants. These families were already struggling before COVID-19 and since the pandemic, our families’ situations have been made even more difficult.”
Those words from Three Virtues Organization, and many other similar testimonies are the reason why we, at The Miami Foundation, do what we do.
Only a few months into 2020 it became clear that our community was bracing for a year like no other. As schools, restaurants, parks, and shops closed down, the ripple effect of lost income and strained families came to a boiling point.
Nonprofits knew they would have to step up more than ever, with far less resources. According to some estimates, over 80% of charity organizations reported a decline in revenues during the pandemic. Some nonprofits even feared they would have to shut down their operations, while demand for their services increased exponentially.
“What we did not see coming was that all of our programs would come to a complete halt due to a pandemic,” shared Cristina Rodriguez, president and co-founder of Mind&Melody.
“This was a very scary moment for us because our lives and jobs felt like they were on the line. The help we received from the Miami Foundation has allowed us to cover a portion of payroll expenses which has allowed our team to sleep at night knowing there is hope as we rebuild our programs, which are needed now more than ever before.”
In the face of those unbelievable hardships, The Miami Foundation was offered the opportunity to partner with the Miami-Dade County Department of Public Housing and Community Development (PHCD) to create a federally funded grant program to support small nonprofits in their recovery from COVID-19. Knowing how strained nonprofits already were, and considering the complexity of federal grant regulations, we leaned on over 50 years of grantmaking experience to design a program that would bring resources to organizations most in need of a boost. Together, we helped nonprofits access over $11.3 million in COVID-19 relief funding.
In just three short weeks, we received 608 applications requesting $13.4 million in funding. Knowing that the need far exceeded the available funds, we worked tirelessly with the County to advocate for an expansion of the program and ultimately, we were successful – we received additional funding for the program and in total awarded 423 grants totaling $11.3 million. Thanks to the generosity of The Miami Foundation’s donors, we have also invested in an additional $5 million in recovery for our community.
Every single nonprofit organization that had a valid, complete application received funding under the program. The grantees represented a wide array of the nonprofit organizations in Miami — serving diverse populations, from across 9 different sectors, all 34 municipalities of Miami-Dade County, and all 13 County Commission districts. The quick allocation of these funds meant that organizations did not have to stop programming and could use the funds as they re-invented themselves.
“As an organization working to end food insecurity, our ability to continue our programs at a time when families impacted by COVID-19 needed our help most, was critical. Thanks to the support of the Miami-Dade Nonprofit Support grant we were not only able to continue operating our nine urban vegetable gardens and provide fresh produce for families in food deserts, we also expanded our impact and launched a food distribution program that has consistently fed over 1,000 people per week since April 2020,” observed Asha Walker at Health in the Hood.
There is no doubt in our mind that our community survived because hundreds of nonprofit organizations stretched beyond their limits and strength to provide for Greater Miami’s residents. Thanks to them, some people were able to find a house, to feed their children, to get job training, access to health, housing, employment, basic products, the Internet, culture, mental health support. Our grant program was the gasoline that got them to the finish line, but they are the heroes of 2020, together with health and frontline workers. They were and still are the frontline.
It has truly been an honor to work with Miami-Dade County government to strengthen and stabilize our nonprofit sector and it has shown us the magic we can create when we all work together towards the most meaningful of goals.
Lindsey Linzer is the managing director of community investments at The Miami Foundation.
Pictured: Mind&Melody, an organization implementing interactive volunteer-based music programs with educational and therapeutic benefits for individuals experiencing neurological impairments.