COVID Task Force Targets Educational Equity
August 12, 2020
Five months ago, BCF launched the COVID-19 Evolving Community Needs Fund to meet immediate, intermediate and long-range needs arising from the pandemic. Since then, generous donors have contributed nearly $2.2 million and we have sped $912,000 to 88 organizations providing food assistance, credible information distribution, remote learning technology, mental health and community coping, among others. To ensure that we are meeting the most critical needs going forward, we have established a COVID-19 Response Task Force made up of six BCF board members and staffed by Laurie Latuda Kinkel, BCF's Vice President of Strategy. With the Task Force's guidance, we are focused on the educational equity implications of COVID-19 given the already dramatic racial gaps in student outcomes identified in a report last year by the Education Trust for BCF.
With the need to pivot to remote learning in the spring, the loss of in-person instruction time and summer programs, and the likelihood that most students will not be in the classroom more than 2-3 days per week this fall – if that - we see a host of ongoing needs to prevent the already unacceptable inequities in opportunity and outcomes from worsening in 2020-2021. Students, teachers, school staff, and parents will need help adjusting to the “new normal,” both in terms of practical resources like devices and connectivity, as well as social emotional supports to weather and recover from this traumatic disruption to an entire generation’s education. Childcare providers are struggling just to survive, while children of all ages will need safe care, enrichment, and remediation for the foreseeable future. Our most vulnerable learners, including the 1 in 5 children with Individualized Education Plans in Baltimore City Public Schools, will need supports beyond devices and internet connectivity to meet their learning goals. If we do not act, we risk sacrificing the future health and wellbeing of a generation of children, not to mention any hoped-for economic recovery.
We look forward to providing more updates in the coming weeks about our intermediate and longer term COVID response grant making, both in emails like this and on the COVID Response page of our website. We are so grateful to the wide range of donors who have given $2.2 million to date to make this response possible, to address the effects of the pandemic on local families and communities. We thank each and every one who has already contributed and invite you to see the full list here. We also continue to accept donations to sustain our response long-term. Donations can be made here.