Foundations, nonprofits act swiftly to contend with the coronavirus
Rami Nashashibi, the group’s executive director, said people from 80 ZIP codes arrive for help, and demand has intensified with the virus’ spread. The group provides food and health care access, counseling for the recently imprisoned and for those just now getting out of Cook County Jail, and cash for those at wit’s end.
Nashashibi said in a couple of weeks, he’ll have 5,000 care packages ready for seniors and others in need. He said he’s grateful for the speed with which the major donors have acted, but this isn’t a short-term challenge. “People are understandably very anxious about job security, food security,” he said. “But more are worried about the onset of the warmer weather months and what that will mean in areas dealing with violence.”
“This type of funding support is a real important beginning. But we need to stress that it’s only the beginning. The need is so much greater.” Nashashibi, who was named a MacArthur Foundation fellow in 2017, said economic hardship could lead to social unrest. “We need a Marshall Plan of visionary intervention,” he said.