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Oregon Cares Fund offers grants to the state's Black community impacted by COVID-19

Funding set aside by lawmakers has been earmarked for Black individuals, businesses, and community-based organizations in Oregon.

Posted: Aug 26, 2020 12:06 PM
Updated: Aug 26, 2020 12:13 PM

SALEM, Ore. — A pool of $62 million in funding set aside for Oregon's Black community is now accepting applications. The Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief and Resiliency was established by the state Legislative Emergency Board in July.

The fund was established to make grants available specifically for Black individuals and families, businesses, and community-based organizations around the state that have suffered from the economic impact of coronavirus.

D.L. Richardson works as an equity specialist in the Medford School District and is a member of the Black Southern Oregon Alliance. Now he serves as one of 11 members on the Council of Trust, a group charged with administering grants through the Oregon Cares Fund.

"This gives us an opportunity to say 'look, we realize that there's a disparity between African-American citizens in the state of Oregon, versus our White friends or our Latinx friends or what-have-you,'" Richardson told NewsWatch 12. "There's a point where we have to reach out and say that there's got to be some way to help this community — to make sure that we don't fall farther behind than we already are."

Lawmakers approved more than $200 million in coronavirus relief during the month of July. $62 million went to establish the Oregon Cares Fund, but millions in funding also went toward general emergency assistance for small businesses, music and cultural venues that have been shuttered by virus countermeasures, COVID-19 leave funding for workers exposed to the virus, and an emergency funding program for Oregonians still waiting on unemployment benefits.

Prior to COVID-19, roughly twice as many Black Oregonians lived in poverty than White residents. Studies since the pandemic began indicate that the pandemic has widened existing gaps, causing disparate levels of job and wage loss among Black Americans.

"When we think about systemic racism, when we think about how many people are suffering the COVID virus . . . especially considering that there are four times more African-Americans that suffer from the COVID virus here in Oregon than any other population," Richardson continued. "And those are not national numbers, those are numbers from the Oregon Health Authority. So when we see these things happen . . . when we see the economic need that's there, we were excited that the state agreed with us that we need to do something to help this community — outreach."

Applicants to the Oregon Cares Fund must demonstrate economic harm caused by the pandemic and prove Oregon residency. Applications are available through the Contingent and the Black United Fund here.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 175121

Reported Deaths: 2460
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34937568
Washington23491229
Marion20195299
Clackamas15386204
Lane11591144
Jackson9923127
Umatilla796883
Deschutes712972
Linn416063
Yamhill410175
Klamath349059
Polk344252
Malheur342858
Josephine306362
Douglas304765
Benton273218
Jefferson207032
Coos197531
Columbia154526
Union141624
Lincoln130220
Wasco129128
Hood River112529
Morrow107915
Clatsop8958
Crook88019
Baker85814
Curry5959
Tillamook5813
Lake4137
Grant4124
Harney3066
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam561
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3718210

Reported Deaths: 61038
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122899723653
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2947794555
San Diego2749603674
Orange2689624896
Santa Clara1170812013
Kern1078591322
Sacramento1011721646
Fresno1005621646
Alameda853671477
Ventura802301000
San Joaquin714311334
Contra Costa67019782
Stanislaus603831028
Tulare49383829
Monterey43267357
San Mateo41157560
San Francisco36032523
Santa Barbara33896446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29696311
Imperial27987719
Kings22774245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16260239
Santa Cruz15571204
Marin13861226
Yolo13580200
Shasta11677217
Butte11573196
El Dorado9719109
Napa966679
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito598663
Lassen566924
Tehama543056
Nevada445775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador362551
Humboldt358737
Lake340943
Glenn235725
Colusa219816
Calaveras205551
Siskiyou194021
Inyo141738
Del Norte12747
Mono12734
Plumas6906
Modoc4884
Mariposa4247
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned610
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