As Delaware County Coped With COVID, The Foundation Was There to Help

A group of people from the Delaware County Immigrant Coalition.
Image via The Foundation for Delaware County.
Pictured are members of the Delaware County Immigrant Coalition who received a $52,000 grant to help provide vaccine outreach and education for the immigrant community.

When the COVID-19 coronavirus was discovered circulating worldwide, triggering death in its wake back in March 2020, the initial COVID response was to close offices and businesses and keep everyone at home.

The thought at the time was this would be a short inconvenience. No one realized how much of an impact the virus would ultimately have on our society.

Since then, nearly one million people in the U.S. have died from the COVID-19 virus to date, with almost 2,000 of those in Delaware County alone.

While the pandemic brought out a lot of emotions in us all—stress, fear, anger, anxiety, sadness—it also brought out the best in so many of us.

Countless people have stepped up to support their neighbors; providing food to hungry families, gratitude to our frontline workers, and comforting those grieving the loss of loved ones.  That includes 3,000 Delaware County residents who volunteered at local vaccine centers.

“While the pandemic impacted so many of our vulnerable residents, it also showed us how powerful our community is in coming together to help those in need, neighbors caring for neighbors,” said Frances M. Sheehan, president, The Foundation for Delaware County.

This past March The Foundation for Delaware County marked the two-year anniversary of March 13, 2020, when it closed its offices and sent people home.  That also marked the date when it created the COVID-19 Response Fund to help nonprofits facing overwhelming need because of COVID.

This is how the Foundation responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • From March to December 2020, 500 individuals, foundations and businesses donated to The Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund, raising more than $1 Million.
  • In March 2020, the Foundation joined Delaware County Council’s Public Health Working Group to establish a Delaware County Health Department.

On March 25, 2020 the first COVID-19 related deaths are reported in Delaware County.

  • Between March 2020 and April 2021, The Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund distributes 25 rounds of grants totaling $1,000,871 to 98 frontline organizations. Five hundred individuals, foundations and businesses gave more than $1 million to people in need in a time of crisis. The money broke down as follows:
  • $434,60 went to food and essential supplies.
  • $210,907 went to Personal Protective Equipment
  • $130,266 went to COVID-19 Testing Vaccine Outreach and Education
  • $112,078 went to Supportive Services
  • $62,000 went to Legal & Financial Counseling
  • $30,800 went to Behavioral Health
  • $20,140 went to Technology

 “Delaware County residents faced tremendous needs as a result of this virus. Our county’s nonprofits were called on to respond in ways they’ve never had to before,” states a Foundation report on the COVID-19 response in Delaware County.

  • The Foundation for Delaware County also partnered with The Delaware County Council on DELCO STRONG, administering two rounds of CARES Act fund applications from non-profit organizations in the county.  With the Foundation’s assistance, Delaware County Council awarded $2.8 million in grants to 103 Delaware County nonprofits.
  • In July and August 2020, the Foundation partnered with County Council on a DELCO STRONG 2 initiative to award 73 Delaware County nonprofit organizations with over $2 Million in grants.
  • From November 2020 to February 2021 The Foundation partnered with County Council on a DELCO STRONG 3 initiative to award 31 Delaware County nonprofit organizations with nearly $800,000 in grants.

On Dec. 30, 2020, Delaware County begins administering COVID-19 vaccinations.

  • On Feb. 22, 2021, Delaware County and The Foundation establish a public health fund to seed the new health department with a $50,000 grant from the Foundation.

On Feb. 23, 2021, the first U.S. case of the Delta variant of coronavirus is reported.

  • In April 2021, The Foundation’s president Frances Sheehan joins the hiring committee for the new Delaware County Health Department Executive Director.
  • In August 2021, Health Partners Plans and ICB Foundation each donate $50,000 to The Foundation’s Public Health Fund to launch the County’s Health Department.

In November 2021 Melissa Lyon is announced as the Executive director of the planned Delaware County Health Department.

On Nov. 28, 2021, a new variant, given the name Omicron, is reported by WHO.

On Jan. 6, 2022, all Delaware County hospitals are at capacity due to COVID cases.

Between December 2020 and February 2022 over 3,000 Delco residents volunteer at vaccine sites through Citizen Corps.

On March 3, 2022, the county celebrates Pennsylvania’s approval of the new Delaware County Health Department.

Check out the entire COVID-19 response Foundation fact sheet here.

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