Building Strong Families During COVID-19

Like many of you, the Pascale Sykes Foundation has spent the past month taking swift action to support the well-being of our grantees and the families they work with as they face the many hardships caused by COVID-19. As much as ever, our work is guided by the belief that working, low-income families are the backbone of communities everywhere. Below is an update on how our Foundation has dedicated its resources in response to this crisis.  

Expanded our THRIVE South Jersey Initiative with New Jersey Community Capital to Support Small Businesses: We recognize that the economic fallout that this pandemic has caused is greatly impacting working families, many of which rely on small businesses for access to essential items and for employment. Keeping small businesses afloat is a way to also help families and communities stay afloat. Through THRIVE South Jersey, an initiative developed to address economic hardship in the targeted four-county region of Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, and Western Atlantic Counties, small businesses in South Jersey can apply for zero-based interest rate loans and receive approval and funding within 10 to 14 days of application — delivering immediate relief in unprecedented times. Learn more here.

Provided Additional Funding For Grantees and Families To Stay Connected: As COVID-19 began impacting our grantees’ operations, the Foundation solicited feedback to understand their greatest immediate needs. Funding for additional tech support and equipment to maintain communication among collaborating agencies and with their families emerged as one of the greatest needs. During times of crisis, moving to virtual modalities to maintain both these lines of communication is especially important. More than 10 of our grantees have since received emergency funding to cover a range of needs including investments in technology, additional staff time, and emergency assistance for families. Learn more about our grantees here.     

Keep Our Community Informed: In an effort to keep our grantees and families healthy and well informed, we’ve compiled a range of COVID-19 related resources available through our website and NJ’s Heartland community hub. Please share with others who may find these useful.   

Highlight the Resilience of Families: Ariel Toribio shared how participating in the Whole Family Approach with Families for Literacy has given his family the tools and hope to weather this storm, “The bond my family and I have is even stronger now as we face this crisis together.” Read Ariel’s inspiring  story here.

Adjust our Research Efforts: For the past several years, the Pascale Sykes Foundation has partnered with research teams at the Senator Walter Rand Institute of Public Affairs at Rutgers University and the University of Pennsylvania to evaluate the impact of the Whole Family Approach. With the onset of COVID-19, we have adjusted our evaluation grants to measure the long-term effects of this crisis on the families our grantees partner with. Are the children and families participating in the Whole Family Approach responding differently than the children and families not participating, now and in the future? Learn more about our research so far here

We thank all of our partners for their tremendous efforts to support families in maintaining their gains, addressing new needs and continuing to build the resilience of their communities. We will get through this together.