Cedars-Sinai contributes to fund assisting South LA

Area severely impacted by COVID-19

OW Staff Writer | 5/28/2020, midnight
Starting with a $150,000 grant to the nonprofit St. John’s Well Child..

Starting with a $150,000 grant to the nonprofit St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, Cedars-Sinai has committed $2 million to 22 to programs that assist populations most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding for St. John’s comes from Cedars-Sinai’s latest round of grants aimed at stabilizing nonprofit organizations in vulnerable communities and putting people back to work during the pandemic. Cedars-Sinai’s commitment comes on top of another $2 million it provided in March to support various food, housing and healthcare programs.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to help underserved populations get the care and services they need during this very challenging time,’’ said Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai. “We want to help bring stability to these organizations and the people they employ and serve.’’

For St. John’s, the money is a vital reprieve that allows for the retention of staff members who would have been furloughed, said St. John’s President and CEO Jim Mangia. Instead, those employees now can enlist in the campaign against the novel coronavirus, working as contact tracers (identifying and monitoring anyone who had contact with individuals testing positive for the virus) focused on the homelessness population of Los Angeles.

“We must use the most effective public health strategies to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the historically underserved communities of South Los Angeles,” Mangia said. “The best way to do this is through contact tracing. The support from Cedars-Sinai allows us to ramp up our contact tracing program by retraining staff to continue serving our community in this manner.”

The second round of Cedars-Sinai grants also includes:  

 -- $500,000 for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to launch its Health Pathways Expansion Program, which is part of its broader pandemic relief efforts to increase access to medical care for people experiencing homelessness;  

 -- $400,000 to help Planned Parenthood Los Angeles increase its telehealth services and call center support to ensure continuity of care while maintaining physical distancing;  

 -- $50,000 to Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles for the procurement of fresh produce from a network of family owned farms that can no longer take their produce to markets due to closures (with that food to be distributed for free at local sites); and  

 -- $20,000 for Chrysalis to continue helping people find or retain employment by providing virtual support services such as vocational skills and