LBC Reconciliation Plan Includes $1M for Black Nonprofits
By Dianne Anderson
Scaling the racial divide, fixing social justice, and creating health access for the Black community is coming in the form of big dollars to the city of Long Beach.
Reconciliation for Black people equals about $1 million up for grabs. It’s part of $40.28 million in CARES Act dollars, which the city must disburse by December 31.
The city is calling on Black nonprofits, or those that want to become a nonprofit, to apply, but they must act soon or lose out.
Dr. Alex Norman said that over the years the scant support for Black nonprofits has led the city to this barren place.
Back in the old days, some nonprofits with staying power have since dried up and withered away. Today only a handful exist, even as African Americans are over-represented in every category, in homelessness, negative health impact, COVID-19 impact, education impact, and the highest unemployment.
Norman said he is aware that $1 million has been designated to go to Black nonprofits.
“That’s what they say. I don’t know that that’s happening. I don’t see it,” said Norman, professor emeritus, UCLA School of Public Affairs.
“I don’t know how the money is going to be distributed, but there aren’t any organizations to receive it. I think the Black community is going to be out of luck, again,” he said.
With such a small handful of Black-led nonprofits, one problem that he identified in his 2016 State of Black Long Beach report was the lack of infrastructure and lack of support from the city.
He pointed out there was no Black infrastructure to lighten the load of catastrophe when it hits.
“It hits us head-on because we don’t have any agencies to mitigate the harm,” he said. “If we get laid off, we don’t have any social agencies to hire us. They’re just not there.”
Community advocate Jerlene Tatum participated in the framework steering committee, and attended virtual reconciliation meetings. She said the meetings left a lot to be desired.
“It was rushed, and that they could not tell how many Black voices were participating. It was lacking a clear plan of action,” she said.
For her, another issue was trying to figure out exactly who was deciding what the Black community needs by way of reconciliation. She didn’t know what percent of participants were Black.
“The city could not provide a separate survey to capture the demographics of the caller,” she said. “For it not to be done, what does that say because the capability was there?”
Outlined in the initial reconciliation report are goals to end systemic racism in the city in all local government and partner agencies, through internal transformation. Also listed is to design and invest in community safety and violence prevention, to redesign police approach to community safety, and improve health and wellness by eliminating social and economic disparities in the communities most impacted by racism.
Kelly Colopy, director of the city’s Health and Human Services Department, said her department is leading the CARES Act effort for community services and nonprofits.
“In terms of disbursement, the small business grant applications are coming in now,” Collopy said in an email. “No disbursements have been made at this time for the community-focused efforts. The application process will roll out in the next couple weeks.”
She said the $1 million is available specifically for Black-led and nonprofits that are working within the Black community.
Part of CARES Act funding will focus on basic needs, food security, older adults, mental health, domestic violence, Black health, and early childhood education supports, along with a non-profit relief fund.
Some nonprofits may provide services in more than one area of focus, and efforts are underway to provide a single coordinated application across the services for easier use, she added.
Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to see the city’s website www.longbeach.gov/caresact to enter their information to receive information for when the funds become available.
For those without 501(c)3 status, she said they are developing a program to help build capacity for Black-led organizations to get their status, or to provide support for established nonprofits to apply for city funds.
Of the CARES Act funding, she said just under $20 million will cover the direct city costs of COVID response, including testing and medical care in the community, sheltering, isolation and quarantine, including PPE and PPE distribution. About $20 million will go for other supports, such as digital inclusion, youth ambassadors, resources for arts organizations, PPE for small businesses and non-profit organizations, and other small business supports.
“Our intent is to make the application process as easy as possible to increase access and to provide support for organizations as needed. More information on specifics of these programs will be available in the next couple weeks,” said Colopy.
For more information on reconciliation, or contact the city to learn more about the future of CARES Act funding, see <http://longbeach.gov/health/healthy-living/office-of-equity/reconciliation>
Any additional comments and recommendations on the report can also be sent to the Office of Equity by emailing EquityLB@longbeach.gov