BELLEVUE, WA — Data from the Washington State Department of Health shows the COVID-19 public health crisis is disproportionally affecting people of color at an alarming rate, confirming existing systemic inequities. Those with limited English proficiency, living in multi-generational households, and those who often hold jobs deemed essential are particularly vulnerable to exposure. Communities of color, especially many immigrants and refugees, continue to face barriers to critical information and either lack access to or are left out of federal and local government aid.
Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation (SYL Foundation) is increasing support to community-based organizations working to combat the pandemic, prioritizing services to immigrant and refugee communities. The Foundation doubled its annual grant-making budget to $2 million dollars to assist with the emergency and longer-term impacts of the pandemic. Grants are being made through two funding processes, a Rapid Response Fund and an Emergent Needs Fund. To date, the following organizations have received Rapid Response Fund support: Asian Counseling and Referral Services; Colectiva Legal del Pueblo; Denise Louie Education Center; Eastside Legal Assistance Program; HealthPoint; Kandelia; Neighborcare; Northwest Health Law Advocates; Refugees Northwest; Somali Health Board; and Young Women Empowered. Emergent Needs Fund grants will be distributed shortly and will provide support in four areas: 1) childcare/early education for immigrant families who are essential workers; 2) community health centers providing care to immigrants and refugees; 3) direct cash assistance to immigrant workers, including undocumented workers; and 4) Anti-hate and anti-bias work.
In addition to financial support, SYL Foundation has joined Washington’s philanthropic and community-based organizations in advocating for Governor Inslee to take immediate steps to protect and support immigrant and refugee communities amid the public health crisis. The Foundation also joined Asian American/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy’s call to action to end the violence and bias against Asian American/Pacific Islander communities. Together with the Foundation’s generous donors and partnership with Buddhist temples (Ling Shen Ching Tze in Redmond and Rainbow Temple in North Bend), the Foundation has distributed over 15,000 medical masks to front line health workers.
SYL Foundation will continue to support the health and education needs of immigrant and refugee communities throughout the pandemic and beyond. Before year end, the Foundation will have provided over $6 million dollars in health and education grants, scholarships, and disaster relief aid since its inception.
ABOUT SHENG-YEN LU FOUNDATION
SYL Foundation is a not-for-profit public charity founded in 2008. By combining compassion and philanthropy with strategic grant-making, SYL Foundation strives to advance and promote quality health and education for all. Through its grant-making program, the Foundation addresses chronic inequities within our health and education systems by seeking and funding innovative programs benefiting the most underserved communities. SYL Foundation primarily focuses on supporting immigrant and refugee communities in Washington’s King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. For more information, please visit our website at www.sylfoundation.org/.
CONTACT: Kathy Kearny, Program & Communications Coordinator, email@example.com, 425.590.9580