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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: 137600

Reported Deaths: 1877
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah29040464
Washington19216179
Marion16668247
Clackamas11989141
Lane8724113
Jackson712295
Umatilla697673
Deschutes517140
Yamhill329448
Malheur319855
Linn319449
Polk256340
Klamath252446
Josephine182636
Benton181714
Douglas175944
Jefferson173425
Union114617
Wasco111723
Columbia107518
Lincoln102717
Coos98315
Hood River97621
Morrow96310
Clatsop7075
Crook65213
Baker5825
Tillamook3692
Curry3245
Lake2485
Grant2171
Harney1806
Wallowa993
Gilliam531
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3147735

Reported Deaths: 36846
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles106550515184
San Bernardino2628581594
Riverside2585322777
San Diego2255582344
Orange2214932625
Santa Clara964351181
Kern89095590
Fresno847441043
Sacramento828611157
Alameda69693886
Ventura64404507
San Joaquin59395808
Contra Costa54416487
Stanislaus43938788
Tulare42759531
Monterey37285259
San Mateo33731340
San Francisco30027278
Santa Barbara26514264
Solano26494111
Imperial25562493
Merced25048324
Sonoma24761247
Kings19760160
Placer17675188
San Luis Obispo16437151
Madera13781151
Santa Cruz12687130
Marin11930163
Yolo11014138
Shasta9920129
Butte9711134
El Dorado800259
Sutter792783
Napa782847
Lassen526916
San Benito514348
Yuba504929
Tehama446846
Tuolumne344340
Nevada329674
Mendocino325635
Amador304232
Lake268132
Humboldt249425
Glenn198522
Colusa18549
Calaveras167223
Siskiyou148413
Mono11354
Inyo100729
Del Norte8732
Plumas6055
Modoc3873
Mariposa3464
Trinity3054
Sierra880
Alpine730
Unassigned00
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