by Allee Mead
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the United States, healthcare facilities, public health agencies, and other organizations quickly had to figure out testing, contact tracing, treatments, telehealth, and other services. While the pandemic seems to have put life on pause, issues like hunger, mental health, and substance misuse are still present and are even exacerbated by the pandemic. Many organizations, including in rural areas, had to stop their normal activities to focus on the pandemic, while others had to address the pandemic while maintaining their previous services.
Foundations and other charitable organizations also had to pivot from their normal role to address the pandemic. Health-focused foundations have been working to address immediate COVID-related needs in rural communities while also figuring out what support they can provide post-pandemic. Along with providing new funding opportunities, the featured foundations are providing technical assistance, convening strategic partners, identifying challenges and opportunities, extending deadlines, and streamlining processes for their grantees.
We asked four foundations:
“What is your foundation doing to support rural communities
during the pandemic?”
Here are their responses:
- Con Alma Health Foundation: Health Equity and COVID Relief
Q&A with Dolores E. Roybal, executive director of Con Alma Health Foundation
- Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation: Taking a Leadership Role and Building Trust
Q&A with Kim Barber Tieman, program director for health and human services for the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
- Maine Health Access Foundation: Reaching Out to Organizations to Provide Directed Grants
Q&A with Barbara Leonard, president and CEO of Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF), and Ruta Kadonoff, vice president for programs
- Montana Healthcare Foundation: Leveraging Funds, Providing Technical Assistance, and Supporting Public Health
Q&A with Aaron Wernham, MD, CEO of Montana Healthcare Foundation, and Scott Malloy, Program Director