COVID-19 has led to a health and economic crisis of epic proportions. Record-high unemployment created an increased need for assistance to help people pay for food, housing, health care, and more. Since the onset of COVID-19, we have seen as high as a 145% increase in calls coming into the call center. During this time, we simultaneously faced the unexpected and unbudgeted expenses of quickly transitioning our staff of 200+ to work remotely in compliance with social distancing guidelines.
To the funders who have made our continued work possible during this unprecedented time: Thank you.
Without additional funding, we could not have begun to tackle the challenges brought on by these extraordinary circumstances to connect those in need to critical public benefits. Several existing supporters – such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Robin Hood, and the Walmart Foundation – offered funds to help us meet the increased need, supplementing already-pledged grants. Other contributions came from organizations with whom we haven’t worked before, including Blue Meridian Partners, The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, and the PHL COVID-19 Fund. All of these generous supporters recognized that BDT’s phone- and web-based services were social distancing-friendly and more critical than ever, especially when many community agencies were closed.
Together, these gifts allowed BDT to quickly adapt its operations, meet the increased need, and serve individuals more quickly. We hired more Benefits Outreach Specialists to speak with clients, increased SNAP outreach and enrollment efforts, and we also invested in hardware, software, and training to enable staff to work remotely.
BDT is also extremely grateful to our existing partners whose support built the critical infrastructure needed for us to adapt quickly to a virtual world, and offered flexibility in how we use their resources so that we could meet the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. That list includes Ballmer Group, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Henry L. Hillman Foundation, Leo and Peggy Pierce Family Foundation, the Mastercard Impact Fund in collaboration with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and The Rockefeller Foundation.
Thanks to all of these generous contributions, BDT is poised to meet the increased needs of the people and communities counting on us, to help state and local government partners adapt to new federal laws and rules related to COVID-19, and to find new ways to support community-based organizations. We are honored and humbled that you have enabled us to connect as many people in need as possible with the critical public benefits they need to survive and thrive during COVID-19 and beyond.