The Foundation’s New Hampshire Tomorrow initiative is about increasing opportunity for New Hampshire’s young people who currently have the least access to opportunity. As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to unfold in our communities, that work becomes even more urgent.
In real and alarming ways, this pandemic has laid bare the inequities in our communities: Staying at home to prevent the spread of the virus and keep yourself healthy is extremely complicated for families and children who do not have homes. Sudden unemployment increases toxic stress in families. The New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth and Families and the state’s domestic violence groups have raised alarms at the growing risk for abuse and neglect as families are home-bound with little access to outside services and support. Teachers and parents are fearing a slow-down of academic progress, and the effects of the disconnection from in-person school supports that many children rely on as remote learning continues.
The Foundation’s response to the current crisis is not limited to one slice of our work. In responding as an institution, we are also acting within our New Hampshire Tomorrow initiative to meet the moment and support those furthest from opportunity:
In Early Childhood Development, we partnered with the state to create a system of emergency child-care centers for the children of essential workers, and are making grants that support all participating centers (including to purchase needed cleaning and PPE supplies) and grants to individual nonprofit centers. These centers are providing safe, quality and reliable care for more than 4,800 children of health care workers, first responders, grocery workers, postal workers and more during the current public-health crisis.
In Family and Youth Supports, we are supporting family resource centers through technical assistance and grantmaking to ensure these critical organizations can survive the economic downturn and continue to serve struggling youth and families.
In Substance Use Prevention, Treatment and Recovery, we are investing $250,000 to help treatment and recovery support centers all over the state provide telehealth services to ensure that people can continue to receive critical supports and services.
In College and Career Pathways, we have extended deadlines on our scholarship programs to allow students more time to apply, and have provided grant support to the Community College System of New Hampshire that is helping students with emergency funding to be able to stay in school given unforeseen job losses and expenses.
And we are strengthening our commitment to equity in everything we do. Partnering with donors through both our New Hampshire Tomorrow funds and our Community Crisis Action Fund, we are focusing the whole of our response on how best to ensure that the most vulnerable among us — those with the least access to opportunity — are cared for during this crisis, and as we rebuild from it.