CDC Foundation Initiative Partners

March 3, 2021
Hispanic, Latino and undocumented communities across the US are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 based on a variety of factors. Representatives from the Richmond City and Chesterfield Health Districts, the funding community, nonprofit partners and public leaders have been convening and quickly deploying resources to address the vital needs of the local Hispanic / Latino population. RMHF is serving as the fiscal sponsor for a grant from the CDC Foundation, which catalyzed this initiative.


CDC Foundation Initiative Partners

So far, funding has been deployed to 9 community-based organizations that are supporting rent, utility, food and other basic needs for families they serve. In the first phase humanitarian response of the initiative, focus is given to ensuring individuals and families have access to basic human needs that will help them stay safe, healthy and economically stable at a time when the pandemic is disproportionately affecting their community. In future phases, this initiative will rely on data, expertise and funding to build on the relationships formed, promote greater integration of services, and expand to other areas of need or opportunity.

Rent & Utilities Assistance

Health and economic impacts of the pandemic put safe, stable housing in jeopardy for some Latino families. By working directly with landlords and utility companies, these organizations help individuals and families who have experienced missed work, reduced hours or job loss remain stable in their homes.



Southside Community Development and Housing Corporation

SCDHC develops affordable housing and provides bilingual services (including housing, financial, benefit and employment counseling) to Richmond’s Latino community through its Financial Opportunity Center (FOC). The FOC is working to prevent eviction and provide pathways to homeownership for Latino individuals and households. Since COVID-19, the FOC has served 73 Latino clients with services. Dianna Bowser is the Executive Director of Southside Community Development and Housing Corporation. 

Sacred Heart Center

The Sacred Heart Center in South Richmond connects Latino families with adult education programs, youth and children’s out-of-school time support, and human service programs. In response to COVID-19, their Emergency Relief Program has assisted over 700 immigrant families with financial support for housing costs. Tanya Gonzalez is the Executive Director of the Sacred Heart Center.

Latinos in Virginia Empowerment Center

Latinos in Virginia Empowerment Center’s bilingual and biculturally trained advocates fight on behalf of Hispanic and Latino families affected by violence and injustice. The approach is to eliminate cultural and linguistic barriers that prevent monolingual Spanish-speakers from accessing services. Elvira De la Cruz is the CEO & Senior Advocate of Latinos in Virginia Empowerment Center. 


Food Access

A top priority in pandemic response is ensuring equitable access to food for Latino families and communities. Food assistance programs often provide highly processed food that is neither healthy nor culturally appropriate for Hispanic or Latino families struggling to make ends meet. These grantees provide familiar, fresh and nutritious groceries to food-insecure families.

Waymakers Foundation

Waymakers Foundation is a food bank that serves food-insecure communities including undocumented families who struggle with stable employment, people who lack the education and training to earn a living wage, and Virginians who struggle with literacy and language. Natasha Lemus is the Founder of Waymakers Foundation. 

Sacred Heart Center 

Among the broad array of services it provides to the Hispanic and Latino communities, Sacred Heart Center (SHC) partners with Bainbridge Food Ministries to operate a food pantry on the SHC campus and partners with Feed More and Underground Kitchen for food donations. Over 1,800 families have received food assistance since the pandemic began. Tanya Gonzalez is the Executive Director of the Sacred Heart Center.


Chesterfield Food Bank

Chesterfield Food Bank (CFB) provides food distribution at its headquarters and six other locations in Chesterfield County. Since COVID-19, about 35,000 people per month have been receiving food once a week; a significant increase from the 10,000 clients per month in 2019. For many, CFB is their only food source. About 44% of those served are Hispanic/Latino community members. Kim Hill is the Executive Director of the Chesterfield Food Bank. 

Community Health Workers

Navigators and community health workers play a critical role in building trust within Latino communities, which often face cultural or situational barriers that prevent them from seeking help. Often native to the communities they serve, bilingual community health workers educate and advocate for community members by helping them identify needs, access services and navigate complex systems.

La Casa de la Salud

La Casa de la Salud (LCS) improves the health and well-being of the Hispanic community through healthy lifestyle models, facilitating access to health services, and other resources. LCS aligns with health leaders, health promoters and other organizations to meet the needs of the community. Antonio Villa Payares is the Executive Director & Founder of La Casa de la Salud.




Chesterfield Health District and Richmond City Health District

As partners of this initiative, the Chesterfield and Richmond City Health Districts have mobilized bilingual community health workers from their staff to support the hard-hit Latino communities in their jurisdictions. They not only refer and connect patients to primary health providers, but also to other economic, social and educational resources they may need. Alexander Samuel is the District Health Director of Chesterfield County. Danny Avula is the Public Health Director of Richmond City & Henrico County.