On May 7, a group of philanthropic organizations led by Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation and Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey’s Start Small Fund donated $3.2 million toward continuing COVID-19 response efforts in Detroit and Flint. Funds will go directly to local organizations that help with everything from food distribution and foster care to housing and bail relief.
Particular grants were matched by the Stadler Family Foundation, The David Rockefeller Fund and Big Sean’s Sean Anderson Foundation. Lyft also joined the fight by providing transportation options for survivors of domestic abuse.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says, “I personally want to thank Rihanna and her Clara Lionel Foundation and Jack Dorsey’s Start Small Fund for stepping up to help groups in Detroit and Flint on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. This generous gift will give these essential nonprofits much-needed resources to help address the needs of those impacted most by COVID-19.”
The Associated Press recently analyzed available data from state and local governments, and it shows that nearly one-third of those who’ve died in the U.S. are Black, in a country where only 13% of its residents are. In Michigan, specifically, 41% of those who have died from COVID-19 are Black; African Americans make up only 14% of our state’s population.
And a study conducted in early April by the University of Michigan found that 35% of Detroiters employed full time or part time before March 1 had lost their jobs because of the pandemic, and it estimated that about one in five residents will run out of money in three months.
Organizations being supported by this recent donation include Gleaners Community Food Bank, Freedom House, Genesee County Youth Corporation, The Bail Project, YWCA Safe House and others. “We continue to see an urgent need for rapid-response efforts to ensure cities don’t lose the opportunity to gain ground against this outbreak as existing issues are being dramatically exacerbated by this pandemic,” says Justine Lucas, executive director of the Clara Lionel Foundation.
“We need specific, actionable solutions to fill critical gaps for the most vulnerable. If we are to succeed in protecting the health and wellbeing of as many people as possible – which we must – we all must get involved.”