Our Response to COVID-19
SEA and our 25 member organizations are doing all that we can to help mitigate the hardships our students and their families are facing during this health and economic crisis. Many of our participants live in communities with high COVID-19 infection rates where job loss and food insecurity are disturbingly common realities. Now more than ever, our students need the support that SEA programs provide.
Here are some of the ways that our member organizations are stepping up to serve students and families and SEA is shifting to meet the needs of the network.
Virtual Programming: Member organizations are providing robust educational and athletic programming online, including individual tutoring sessions, group study halls, test prep, and team workouts. SEA is supplementing these learning experiences by providing weekly fitness sessions for the network and an ongoing speaker series featuring Q&As with leaders in education, squash, and other areas.
Assessing Needs & Providing Resources: Member organizations have conducted needs assessments of participants’ households and connected students and families to resources such as local food banks, social service organizations, and online learning tools. Our programs have also funded travel home for college students, distributed laptops, mailed care packages to families, and created emergency funds to ensure students and their families are able to meet their basic needs. Emergency funds are helping families with food and medical costs, laundry, utilities, and housing.
Collaboration: SEA is working closely with our member organizations to understand their challenges and successes, creating regular opportunities for staff, boards, and leadership to connect, and providing guidance on what best practices look like in this new normal.
Challenge Grants: After surveying the financial and organizational needs of our network, SEA committed to invest up to $250,000 directly in our member organizations. As an initial step, $125,000 of those funds have been allocated to provide matching challenge grants. Now through the summer, SEA will match new donations dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000 for any member organization. The balance of the $250,000 will be distributed in larger challenge grants to select member organizations in acute financial need.