Thanks to the generosity of Kern County’s individual and corporate philanthropists, Kern Community Foundation has been able to keep recharging its Kern County COVID-19 Relief Fund, which was launched in late March to help meet the extraordinary needs of local nonprofits dealing with the ongoing health and financial crisis caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The latest “jumpstart” to the fund came in the way of a $100,000 donation from Kern Health Systems last week, which enabled the Foundation to award grants to nine nonprofits responding to basic needs.
“Over the past 8 weeks, Kern Community Foundation has received 140 applications requesting $1.8 Million from local nonprofits that are experiencing negative financial impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the demand for many of their services increasing significantly,” said Foundation President and CEO Kristen Beall Watson. “We are always proud of how our community comes together to meet the essential needs of our neighbors during challenging times like these, and we applaud Kern Health Systems for their generous gift to recharge our fund so that our grant-making work can continue.”
Grant recipients in this latest funding round are: Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault; Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative; Bakersfield Senior Center; Bakersfield Homeless Center; Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County; California Farmworker Foundation; Community Action Partnership of Kern Food Bank; The Mission at Kern County; and Wounded Heroes Fund.
In a letter of thanks from Alliance Director Barbara Vadnais, she explained that funds received would help to ensure uninterrupted service delivery for the Alliance’s 24-hour Crisis Hotline. “Alliance Hotline services are vital to the health and safety of victims in need of hospital support and/or emergency shelter, and must be available 24/7,” her letter stated.
Kern Health Systems Chief Executive Officer Douglas Hayward said, “Improving the health of our members requires community collaboration to address their physical, behavioral and social needs, especially during unprecedented times like these. We must do our part to support local
nonprofits that are working hard every day to serve the vulnerable and underserved in our
community and we are honored to partner with Kern Community Foundation to do so.”
Funds from the Kern County COVID-19 Relief Fund at Kern Community Foundation continue to
be available to local nonprofits through an abbreviated grant process to support a variety of
• Assistance for nonprofits serving vulnerable populations with basic needs (food,
housing, living expenses, transportation costs, etc.) related to job layoffs and/or
• Assistance for nonprofit organizations experiencing staffing and/or volunteer gaps due to
quarantines and social distancing;
• Assistance for nonprofit organizations with financial planning and resilience.
“To date, nearly $400,000 has been granted out to support relief efforts,” Beall Watson said.
“The majority of the funds have been focused on organizations providing basic needs (food,
shelter, and safety) to our community’s most vulnerable populations. Our hope is that as the
curve flattens and we are able to resume some level of normalcy, we will be able to provide
resources to local nonprofits impacted by the pandemic.”
Grants are expected to range from $5,000 to $30,000 and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis
until resources are depleted. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and public agencies are eligible
to apply for additional funds as needs arise.
Further support from the community is welcome. Those wishing to contribute to the Kern County
COVID-19 Relief Fund can make a secure tax-deductible donation in one of the following ways:
• Online at kernfoundation.org;
• By mailing a check to Kern Community Foundation, 3300 Truxtun Avenue, Suite 220,
Bakersfield, CA 93301, specifying “Kern County COVID-19 Relief Fund” in the memo; or
• By phone using a major credit card. Please call 661.325.5346 Monday through Friday
from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.
About Kern Health Systems
Kern Health Systems, the County Health Authority, is an independent public agency that
governs Kern Family Health Care, the Health Plan of more than 263,000 members. As a public
entity, Kern Health Systems’ mission is dedicated to improving the health status of its members
through an integrated managed health care delivery system.
About Kern Community Foundation
Kern Community Foundation is a vibrant nonprofit enterprise with the powerfully simple mission
of “Growing Community. Growing Philanthropy.” The Foundation is in business to serve as a
charitable resource for local donors and corporations, and to generate capital that provides
philanthropic solutions to help make Kern County a better place to live, to work and to visit.
Since its establishment in 1999, the Foundation has grown to hold more than 170 charitable
funds, with assets surpassing $27 million, and has awarded close to $25 million in grants and
scholarships, ranking in the top two-thirds of the 100 most active grant makers, nationwide,