Dayton one of 10 communities to get $50K COVID-19 economic relief grant

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton is one of ten communities getting financial assistance from a national non-profit to help those impacted by COVID-19. Springfield native, John Legend, announced it during his Father’s Day special Sunday night.

The President and CEO of the non-profit Accelerator for America, Rick Jacobs, said Dayton was picked because of the city’s leadership and the community’s resiliency. He said it will be up to the city how the funds are distributed, but is meant to help those who are most in need.

In a release, Accelerator for America said they are building on a successful Angeleno Card program in Los Angeles and will help these ten communities establish similar programs.

Accelerator for America said it is supported by a $750,000 grant from the Open Society Foundations, and will provide technical assistance and $50,000 in funding for each community to stand up the infrastructure needed to successfully administer a large-scale financial assistance program. 

Accelerator for America, with resources and expertise from Mastercard, will work alongside grantees until their programs are fully operational, providing the necessary expertise and technical support to ensure success. 

Jacobs told 2 NEWS, The Angeleno Card program was established in March by Accelerator for America in partnership with the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, and Mastercard City Possible to provide direct financial assistance via no-fee debit cards to Los Angeles residents whose livelihoods were hardest-hit by the pandemic, including low-wage hourly workers who had jobs in homes and restaurants, seasonal workers, day laborers, street vendors, and self-employed individuals.

He said as of this week, they had given away over $27 million dollars in L.A., all of it private sector money.

He said with the Open Society Foundations grant, they’re regranting $50,000 to each of these ten cities or states:

  • Atlanta, GA;
  • the State of Connecticut;
  • the State of Rhode Island;
  • Chattanooga, TN;
  • Dayton, OH;
  • Birmingham, AL;
  • Oklahoma City, OK;
  • Salt Lake City, UT;
  • Louisville, KY;
  • Austin, TX.

“What we offer is the money, the technical expertise to apply in any way that makes sense, and a system that can be changed around to fit the need,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs said in L.A., the prepaid debit card system was successful, but they want the money to work efficiently for each community. So it’s up to each grant recipient to decide how the money is used.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the Community Action Partnership is heading that up.

“I think that they’re leaning towards having this money be used for grandparents that are taking care of kids of people that have had opioid disorders, so we’ll be working with them and announcing soon,” said Whaley.

Jacobs said they picked ten jurisdictions that Accelerate for America has already worked with and whose leadership could utilize the money the quickest. He said under Whaley’s leadership, Dayton was a shoo in.

“Whether it’s tornadoes, or a shooting, you look at that and how Dayton responded in each case,” said Jacobs. “You look at how resilient the city is on longer term problems, like substance abuse, and how you’re responding.”

Jacobs and Whaley said they’re hopeful this is just the seed money as Accelerate for America has opened up for donations that Jacobs said will go directly to the ten communities and L.A.

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