COVID-19 Violence Prevention Emergency & Sustainability Fund

COVID-19 is affecting everyone, impacting every aspect of life in one way or another. During this unprecedented pandemic, we have seen philanthropy, corporations, and California residents go to great lengths to support our critical essential workers. However, not all on the frontlines have received the same attention, resources, and support.

Street outreach workers, peacekeepers, community advocates and caseworkers, credible messengers — they have different names in cities throughout California, but they are all deemed “essential workers” in the communities that depend on them. These community leaders are on the frontlines 24/7 of the coronavirus pandemic and are providing essential information, resources, and services during these difficult times. These frontlines are not only in hospitals – they are in neighborhoods and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by gun violence for a very long time.

Moreover, these front line workers have become essential conduits of survival for the communities they serve because they are trusted allies of the community. Given a long history of neglect and injustice, many communities distrust mainstream institutions, and government agencies typically result in many people seeking out alternative forms of support and assistance for fear of finding themselves in jeopardy; whether perceived or real. Immigrant communities and formerly incarcerated individuals, for example, will only rely on trustworthy individuals and organizations because their very survival is dependent on it. In many cases, individuals and families will do without essential services because the risk of seeking food assistance or other resources may be too great.

Clearly, we recognize that ordinarily, many of these front line workers are engaged in work related to gun violence reduction, in one form or another. But, we must not forget that beyond that, many of them are part of the communities they serve and, much like the organizations that employ them, are committed to those communities beyond their professional capacity or current funding strategy. In short, like other essential workers, they are stepping up and expanding their role in service to the most vulnerable around them.

We are extremely concerned that their role as trusted messengers, cultural brokers, providers of care, and conduits for services or resources is being overlooked and underappreciated; despite their absolutely critical role that should be supported. Lest we forget that they are providing services in the most neglected and impacted communities across the state. These are communities already besieged by decades of racism, trauma, and neglect; neglect that unfortunately has created high rates of underlying conditions that makes them vulnerable to the worst cases of COVID-19. This reality also exposes these front line workers themselves to the virus and too often with limited, if any, protective gear or training.

The Hope and Heal Fund has launched the COVID-19 Violence Prevention Emergency & Sustainability Fund to support frontline workers and organizations working to prevent gun violence during this pandemic. The rapid response campaign and fund will target its resources to support community-based organizations’ most essential needs given COVID-19 and help to ensure that our vital community organizations survive the economic downturn caused by the virus.

The purpose of this emergency fund is designed to provide organizations and their community outreach team members with the proper resources needed to continue to safely provide much-needed services and supplies to community members impacted by gun violence. Frontline workers and organizations will be provided with the flexibility and ability to use the resources for the most pressing community needs, whether that be for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), healing and self-care services, funeral costs, victim services, and/or general operating support.

Ultimately, the purpose of the COVID-19 Violence Prevention Emergency & Sustainability Fund is to provide desperately needed resources to the frontlines and advance a needed conversation about how frontline workers are working to save lives and end gun violence in communities across California.

Hope and Heal Fund is a project of New Venture Fund, a US-based, 501(c)(3) public charity.

The restricted collaborative fund will solicit funding with support from California-based philanthropic organizations. Grantmaking for the fund will happen once per month, with proposals being accepted on a rolling basis. The number of available awards is contingent upon the fund’s total capital raised within a twelve-month period.

  • Launch & Fundraising (May 2020): Official launch of the fund, solicitation of funds from California-based foundations
  • Launch of Fund / Solicitation of Proposals (July 2020): Solicitation of proposals from California-based community-based organizations.
  • Weekly Review of Proposals: Rapid Response Review Committee – composed of three individuals representing foundation and community partners – review proposals received once per week via email exchange or conference call meetings.
  • Close of Fund (April 2021): Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until April 2021 or until dollars from the Fund are fully spent, whichever occurs first.


  • Organizations must be:
    • A 501-c3 nonprofit organization, or, fiscally sponsored by one.
    • Headquartered in California
  • Funds received from Hope and Heal Fund must be used to serve California communities.
  • Funds must be used to provide COVID-19 related essential services or resources as needed and defined by the organization and/or to keep the operations solvent and viable during the crisis.
  • All organizational types and sizes will be considered but organizations must be working on the reduction of gun deaths, injuries, and trauma.

By invitation only until further notice.

Catherine Jones
Sierra Health Foundation