A new initiative to help Arizona businesses, nonprofits and residents harmed by the COVID-19 outbreak was launched Tuesday by Governor Doug Ducey.
Called Arizona Together, the initiative can connect those affected to a wide array of resources from financial assistance and medical assistance to meals for low-income pupils missing school. The initiative also aims to raise money for struggling community organizations and recruit volunteers statewide.
“We’re calling on Arizonans to be informed, get engaged, and support organizations doing important work to keep our communities safe and healthy,” Gov. Ducey said Tuesday in announcing the project. “Arizona will get through this together.”
Cardinals’ Bidwill donates $1 million for relief fund
To get donations started, Arizona Cardinals Chairman and President Michael J. Bidwill is giving $1 million to the initiative’s AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund.
The fund will support the frontline community organizations dealing with the pandemic. Donations will be used to purchase protective equipment for medical personnel, expand technology access to low-income students, and support nonprofits like food banks, homeless shelters and domestic violence facilities.
“Like so many in our community, this unprecedented crisis has us asking what we can do to help and what might have the greatest impact,” Bidwill said. “We are grateful for the creation of this relief fund, are proud to support its critically important mission and hope that others throughout the community can join this effort in whatever way that they are able.”
Large collection of resources on Arizona Together website
Homeowners, employees, small businesses, students and others struggling financially or with limited resources as a result of the coronavirus pandemic can now tap into a large collection of growing resources on the website at ArizonaTogether.org.
Anyone interested in volunteering in their community with organizations needing help also can register through the website.
There are links to dozens of businesses, government agencies, nonprofits and others stepping up to help get workers reemployed, businesses stay afloat, assist homeowners with monthly bills, and more.
Among the resources found through the website are:
Low interest loans for small businesses, nonprofits
Small businesses and nonprofits in Arizona with losses that have occurred due to the coronavirus crisis can apply for low-interest loans to keep operations running and employees paid.
Affected companies may apply for up to $2 million through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
For additional information about the loan program, visit: SBA.gov/Disaster.
Grant assistance for nonprofits
Currently, there are three grant programs on board to help nonprofits:
Arizona COVID-19 Community Response Fund is intended to support nonprofit organizations as they respond to the spreading virus. For more information or to donate, go to: Arizona Community Foundation.
Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) ihas an emergency relief fund to support nonprofit organizations in southern Arizona that have had to cancel events as a result of the outbreak. CFSA has seeded the fund with an initial gift of $10,000. For more information and to donate, go to: CFSA.
Flagstaff Arts Council Art & Science Grant Fund Committee is actively establishing criteria and a process to distribute funds in the coming weeks. Its grants will range from $250 to $1,000 to support non-profits affected by cancellations or declining revenues. To donate to the fund, go to Flagstaff Arts.
Banking assistance for businesses, households
Nearly all financial institutions serving Arizona consumers and small businesses have enacted policies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. Most ask that customers or businesses contact customer service if they are unable to pay bills or are facing hardship due to the virus.
A number of banks offering assistance include:
Bank of America – Customers who need help can contact the Client Assistance Program. For those facing financial hardship, the bank will work on a case-by-case basis to find a solution. For those who need help making credit card payments on time, they can submit an online request for a payment deferral.
Capital One – Customers are encouraged to use digital banking tools. If customers are facing financial difficulty due to COVID-19, they should contact the bank’s customer support as customers may be eligible for assistance such as minimum payment assistance, deferred loan assistance or fee suppression.
Chase – Customers are encouraged to use digital banking tools. If customers are facing financial difficulty due to COVID-19, they should contact the bank’s customer support number. In the past, Chase has supported customers, including small businesses, through times of crisis by issuing fee waivers, changing due dates, and extending credit lines. As of right now, Chase will work with customers on an individual basis to determine financial assistance.
Citibank – Through April 9, customers can contact Citibank for assistance that includes fee waivers, waived penalties and credit line increases. Bankers are also available for extended hours to support small business customers.
WaFd Bank – All WaFd Arizona branches are offering small businesses affected by the coronavirus lines of credit of up to $200,000 interest-free for 90 days. The bank will also expedite the processing of new credit applications for companies in operation for at least two-years that demonstrate at least a ten percent revenue reduction due to the coronavirus.
Major utilities, cable and cell phone providers helping customers
Major utilities, internet and cellphone companies, government agencies and other corporations and nonprofits are also offering assistance such as waiving late fees, not charging for data overage and reducing minimum payment amounts.
More information can be accessed through the website at Arizona Together.
Donations, volunteers, takeout orders, retail purchases needed
Volunteers are needed including medical professionals, teachers and childcare workers, said Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services who is leading the public health response to the coronavirus and keeping citizens informed.
“Our food banks, hospitals, youth centers, and nonprofits serving the community all need support. We’re calling on Arizonans to come together and help where they can, while continuing to follow safe practices and the guidance of public health.”
Meanwhile, businesses and individuals wishing to offer donations or find other ways to support those affected by the virus can find a number of ways to help on the website.
For example, in hopes of giving restaurants a boost, there is a link to Arizona Takeout Week, encouraging the ordering of takeout from local restaurants. Users can find a variety of Arizona restaurants providing curbside pick-up or delivery.
For restaurants and small businesses hit hardest by the sudden downturn, something as simple as purchasing a gift card, merchandise or a takeout dinner can help, the website states.
To learn more, donate, seek volunteer assistance or find volunteer opportunities, go to ArizonaTogether.org.