COVID Community Response Advisory Council
In April 2020, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the United Way of Central and Northeastern CT began convening remotely a COVID-19 Community Response Advisory Council, consisting of representatives from nonprofit, business, faith-based and other sectors with frontline knowledge of the pandemic’s impact on the communities we serve.
The goal was to draw upon a collection of perspectives in real time. The sessions provided an opportunity to come together as thought partners and to reflect on conversations with experts. We recognize that the pandemic has revealed and exacerbated longstanding disparities in the Black and Latinx communities in accessing healthcare, employment and other opportunities. Through the Council’s collective dialogue, we are exploring strategies to address inequities and racial discrimination to ensure residents with the greatest needs have access to health services and other safety net resources.
We hope these exchanges and resources can inform our and others’ COVID recovery responses and planning to address health, housing, food insecurity, workforce, economic, and other challenges that existed before the public health crisis and have become more urgent during the pandemic.
Highlights and Resources
Advisory council members shared out the needs most pertinent in their sector; food distribution, homeless shelters, student needs, health concerns, etc.
Annie Scully, research analyst and community outreach coordinator at United Way, gives a presentation on United Way's 211 system and COVID-related findings.
Dr. Carlos Gonzalez, medical director and staff child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Community Child Guidance Clinic in Manchester presents Challenges of COVID-19 and Mental/Behavioral Health Treatment of Already Underserved Populations.
Steve Grossman, president and CEO of Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), and his team--Diego Portillo Mazal, Marynee Pontes, and Howard Wial discuss impact on small business, and Dr. Maysa Akbar, Urban Trauma LLC, focuses on the impact of systemic racism.
Dr. Wizdom Powell, director of the University of Connecticut Health Disparities Institute and associate professor of psychiatry at UConn Health presents Public Health and Health Equity - Breath, Eyes, Memory: Transforming health systems, restoring trust, and advancing an agenda for radical healing.
Niall Dammando, Chief of Staff of the Office of Workforce Strategy, from the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, and Kelly Aiken, Vice President of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions present Workforce Development and Employment Pre- and Post COVID.
Presenters Reggy Eadie, MD, MBA, President and CEO of Trinity Health of New England, and Liany Arroyo, MPH, CPH, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services for the City of Hartford, share their experience implementing state and local vaccine education as well as distribution plans, community outreach and access, with a focus on equity.
Areas of need
|City of Hartford||Mayor Bronin/Designee(s)|
|Education||Richard Sugarman, Hartford Promise|
|Faith Organizations||Michael Elfenbaum, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, VP of Grants
Senior Pastor Ronald Holmes, President, Greater Hartford Interdenominational Ministries Alliance; Pastor, Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church; social worker, Department of Children and Families
|Family Support||Toral Sanghavi, Associate Vice President, Management and Analytics, The Village for Families and Children|
|Food Security / Basic Needs Programs||Jason Jakubowski, President & CEO, Foodshare
Lena Rodriguez, President & CEO, Community Renewal Team
|Health / Health Access||Tiffany Donelson, CEO, CT Health Foundation
Jose Ortiz, Executive Director, Hispanic Health Council
|Housing Security||Richard Cho, Chief Executive Officer, Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness
Matthew Morgan, Executive Director, Journey Home
|Regional Economic Impact||Jim Horan, Executive Director, LISC|
|Statewide Philanthropic Response / Emergency Management Response Representative||Karla Fortunato, President, CT Council for Philanthropy, and member, Governor’s Emergency Management Response statewide coordination taskforce|
|Vulnerable Populations||Sarah Eagan, Connecticut’s Child Advocate, Office of Child Advocate
Enid Rey, Our Piece of the Piece (includes Opportunity Academy)
|Workforce / employment security - nonprofit/for-profit||Alex Johnson, President & CEO, Capital Workforce Partners
David Griggs, President & CEO, Metro Hartford Alliance