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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.

Confirmed Cases: 42436

Reported Deaths: 655
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9228160
Marion5858108
Washington579076
Umatilla335444
Clackamas313965
Lane239227
Malheur191738
Jackson16846
Deschutes113213
Yamhill99415
Linn81015
Polk65415
Jefferson6049
Morrow5456
Lincoln51713
Union4672
Benton4426
Klamath4113
Douglas3506
Wasco34715
Hood River2771
Josephine2673
Columbia2661
Coos2460
Clatsop2430
Baker1203
Crook1092
Tillamook700
Curry571
Wallowa442
Lake370
Harney230
Sherman190
Gilliam110
Grant110
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 910438

Reported Deaths: 17386
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3006147000
Riverside667321295
San Bernardino627741072
Orange587251447
San Diego54941870
Kern33881416
Fresno30858436
Sacramento25445484
Santa Clara24313388
Alameda23391461
San Joaquin21630489
Contra Costa18694242
Stanislaus17686397
Tulare17495286
Ventura14300164
Imperial12882336
San Francisco12152140
Monterey1139991
San Mateo11149159
Santa Barbara9814120
Merced9465155
Sonoma9402136
Kings824683
Solano738476
Marin7089128
Madera502074
Placer417857
San Luis Obispo414132
Yolo320759
Butte308752
Santa Cruz280225
Napa196215
Shasta188930
Sutter183712
San Benito144215
El Dorado13284
Yuba129310
Mendocino112921
Tehama8808
Lassen7661
Lake69515
Glenn6573
Nevada6168
Humboldt56710
Colusa5506
Calaveras34218
Amador33016
Tuolumne2714
Inyo22715
Siskiyou1930
Mono1802
Del Norte1781
Mariposa782
Plumas680
Modoc290
Trinity260
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
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