Community Resilience Fund
COVID-19, Racism, and Economic Crisis Threaten Health and Well-Being of Families
With families navigating historic levels of job loss, child care and school closures, health care challenges, and food and housing insecurity, the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated persistent health and economic inequities. Together, these societal, economic, and health conditions pose a particular threat to the health and wellbeing of children, especially children of color, with long-term implications for health, development, and well-being of children, families, and communities.
Goals of the Community Resilience Fund
First 5 Alameda County launched a Community Resilience Fund in April 2020 and to date has administered more than $10 million to help children, families, and child care providers cope with the heightened challenges of the pandemic. The agency re-purposed current contracts, engaged in targeted partnerships with philanthropy and public agencies, identified savings, and the First 5 Commission appropriated funding from reserves to support the pandemic response. The county has looked to partner with First 5 to administer CARES Act funding because of our nimble responsiveness and their recognition of the importance of investing in the early childhood field at this critical time. The goals of the fund are to:
- Address the needs of young children, their families, and the early childhood system that supports them.
- Prioritize investment in communities positioned most vulnerably as a result of racist and classist private and public policies and practices.
- Leverage First 5 evaluation data and existing investments by supporting key kindergarten readiness recommendations, as well as augmentations to our existing Neighborhoods Ready for School grantees now also operating as supply and distribution hubs.
Commitment to Social Justice: Equity Framework
The Resilience Fund grants priority to African American/Black, South East Asian/Asian Pacific Islander, Latinx, Native American, immigrants, and undocumented families and those experiencing poverty. Due to structural race and class bigotries these populations are disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and allocated resources must be used to mitigate the resulting inequities.
- Engagement with the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to support countywide systems change efforts. See our Early Childhood Data Profiles for each Supervisorial District for more information
- Investment in school districts to support kindergarten transition in a time of crisis for families and our educational partners
- Purchase and distribution of concrete needs and essential supports for providers and families, working with Alameda County Community Food Bank and SupplyBank.Org
- Investment in family-serving shelters to improve access to essential supplies for unhoused families with young children, with support from Sunlight Giving
Early Childhood Education
- Sustaining local infrastructure of backbone entities like the Resource and Referral Agencies to meet heightened demand during the current crisis
- Administrator of $4 million in CARES Act funding provided by Alameda County Social Services Agency for grants and supplies to family child care providers.
- Investment in local family childcare providers in partnership with the Low Income Investment Fund and Silicon Valley Community Foundation, increasing access to financial technical assistance
- Investment in community parent advocacy through increases to current contracts for our Neighborhoods Ready for School grants and Parent Voices Oakland
- Pivot of NRFS sites into distribution hubs and use of KRA study to inform support for kindergarten transitions and funding in areas with the greatest need
- Targeted investments, in partnership with the California Wellness Foundation, for communities who are particularly vulnerable at this time
- Participation in a base-building advocacy fund through the East Bay Community Foundation
- Support for Oakland Zoo and Children’s Fairlyland as local, family-friendly institutions.
Support for Kindergarten Readiness
In 2019, our flagship research study, the Alameda County Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA), found that only 44% of students are fully ready. Building off of this work and other place-based investments through our Neighborhoods Ready for School program and Early Learning Communities Network, the Community Resilience Fund is supporting children's transition to kindergarten with grants to school districts, based on an equity index we developed.
The equity index is a weighted composite of the following factors:
- Percent of student body using free and reduced lunch
- Diversity of student body
- COVID-19 community transmission rates
- Kindergarten Readiness Assessment participation and third-grade academic achievement
- Number of kindergarten students and classrooms
*A higher score (indicated by a darker color on the map) represents a district with a greater level of need.
For a more detailed description of how Community Resilience Funds have been used by district, see a summary of school district grants flyer.
Distribution Hubs: Food and Essential Supplies