Pasadena Community Foundation COVID-19 Response


With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves in a changed world. In addition to the virus’s threat to our health and safety, Pasadena is experiencing rising unemployment, food and housing insecurity, and economic instability.

Pasadena’s nonprofit organizations are facing unprecedented challenges as they expand their services to meet the growing needs in our community. PCF is also working hard to assess changing needs, make impactful grants, and raise funds to extend our capacity to respond.

We wish to convey our gratitude to the many dedicated health professionals, educators, nonprofit organizations, caregivers, community leaders, and volunteers working around the clock to respond to this unprecedented crisis.

PCF will continue to work to support the health and well-being of our community as we navigate these new challenges. Our hearts are with Pasadena and its people today, and always.


As it became clear that COVID-19 was going to have a devastating impact on our local economy, as well as our health care and education infrastructure, PCF acted quickly to launch an emergency COVID-19 Response Fund on March 16th, just prior to the “Safer at Home” order issued on March 19th by L.A. County and the City of Pasadena.

The fund was created with the goal of providing flexible resources to Pasadena-based organizations as they respond to the impact of the virus and quarantines. It was seeded with an initial commitment of $100,000 from PCF and continues to grow with gifts from community members.

“We are in the midst of a national emergency with significant and immediate consequences for the Pasadena community. With the COVID-19 Response Fund, we appeal to the generous donors of Pasadena to give locally in order to sustain the social services, food assistance, and other efforts that will protect our vulnerable neighbors.”  – Jennifer DeVoll, PCF President & CEO

As of May 1, 2020, Pasadena Community Foundation has granted more than $650,00 to nonprofit organizations providing relief services to the Pasadena community.


Once the fund launched, the Foundation team shifted focus to developing a strategic approach to PCF’s grant response. In just over a week, PCF staff members conducted in-depth interviews with 24 city leaders, local nonprofit directors, and community foundation colleagues to assess the most urgent needs and identify any gaps in existing resources.

With this information, we developed a response plan that leverages all of PCF’s resources to support our community’s needs. Emergency grantmaking will be deployed in three phases – immediate, short-term, and long-term – that will all be informed by ongoing assessment and collaboration.

In addition to the COVID-19 Response Fund, PCF will re-direct existing grant programs to provide relief funding as it is needed, including removing restrictions on grant funds that have already been awarded, but not used.

“As we spoke with community and nonprofit leaders, many themes emerged, but chief among them were immediate food insecurity, and concerns for low-income seniors who are now home-bound. We expect needs to evolve in the coming weeks and months, and we will continue to gather feedback to guide our decision-making throughout each phase of our grant response plan.”   – Kate Clavijo, Senior Program Officer


In the first of its three strategic response phases, PCF made emergency, unrestricted grants totaling $100,000 to nine local organizations working to distribute food and supplies to two immediately vulnerable groups: seniors, and low-income individuals and families. Please click here for the full list of grants and projects funded in Phase One.



PCF awarded the second phase of grants from its COVID-19 Response Fund to 26 local nonprofits. Totaling $372,000, the grants will support local community-based organizations serving families and individuals experiencing extreme hardship from the economic, social, and physical impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Community-based organizations serving families and individuals suffering disproportionately from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis were invited to submit proposals for Phase Two funding. PCF identified local organizations with a history of successful engagement with these vulnerable groups, including food distribution and meal delivery organizations, and social service providers focused on seniors, people experiencing homelessness, at-risk student populations, low-income families with school-age children, and more.

Addressing the immediate needs of homebound seniors:

• $10,000 to Meals on Wheels to maintain and expand meal delivery for homebound seniors.

• $5,000 to Pasadena Senior Center to expand outreach and food distribution to older adults.

• $25,000 to YWCA San Gabriel Valley to increase services for meal delivery to low-income homebound seniors in the Pasadena/Altadena area.

Addressing the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness:

• $12,000 to Elizabeth House to support pregnant and parenting homeless and formerly homeless women with food, supplies, and emergency needs.

• $15,000 to Salvation Army to support food distribution program and to add senior meal delivery.

• $25,000 to Union Station to support safe temporary housing and meal delivery to those experiencing homelessness.

Supporting health agencies:

• $15,000 to Foothill Family Service for technology support to transition to telehealth and online service delivery.

• $15,000 to support the Huntington Memorial Hospital COVID-19 Fund.

• $15,000 to Planned Parenthood Pasadena San Gabriel Valley to support technology needs for transition to telehealth and online service delivery.

Supporting disabled adults in residential homes:

• $5,000 to AbilityFirst to purchase groceries, supplies, and programming for adults with developmental disabilities in two residential programs.

• $15,000 to Villa Esperanza to purchase groceries, supplies, and programming for adults with developmental disabilities in seven residential programs.

Addressing the immediate needs of low-income families, students and youth:

• $5,000 to Families Forward Learning Center to provide groceries, baby supplies, and gift cards to families.

• $20,000 to Flintridge Center to support the Youth of Promise program for youth coming out of incarceration with emergency assistance grants.

• $15,000 to Foothill Unity to support their Food Program that provides weekly food boxes to low-income families and seniors.

• $20,000 to Friends in Deed to support its food pantry.

• $15,000 to Learning Works for purchase of educational supplies, access to technology, and emergency assistance to low-income students and their families.

• $10,000 to Pasadena/Altadena Coalition of Transformative Leaders (PACTL) to support low-income families with emergency supplies and educational resources.

• $15,000 to Pasadena Community Job Center for emergency mini-grants and food pantry support for day laborers and domestic workers.

• $15,000 for Pasadena City College Foundation to expand emergency assistance through the Unexpected Hardship Fund, which provides electronic gift cards, emergency funds to low-income students.

• $10,000 to the Pasadena Educational Foundation to purchase protective equipment to monitor the health of essential workers, including those preparing and distributing meals for Pasadena Unified School District.

• $15,000 to Stars to provide under-served youth and their families culturally responsive meals and support for online learning.

Addressing the immediate needs of foster youth:

• $15,000 to Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services to provide temporary housing and food for at-risk young adults.

• $15,000 to Hillsides to purchase food, groceries, basic supplies foster and transitional aged youth.

• $15,000 to Five Acres to support increased educational and food expenses for students in Short-Term Residential Therapeutic and Transitional Shelter Care programs.

Supporting low-income sober living clients in residential homes

• $10,000 to Casa to expand telehealth programming and meals for residential clients.

• $20,000 to Grandview Foundation to provide shelter, treatment, and healthy meals to individuals struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.

The PCF COVID-19 Response Fund was established to activate local philanthropy and provide direct relief to Pasadena-area residents. The fund was seeded with an initial commitment of $100,000 from PCF, and has grown with gifts from community members, private foundations, and local businesses.


As we deploy the resources committed to our COVID-19 response fund, we are considering the rest of 2020, including PCF’s existing grant cycles, and planning to re-purpose additional available funds. As the COVID-19 crisis and its impacts continue to evolve, we will distribute a third phase of grants with updated guidelines.

More information on local, state, and national response to COVID-19 is available from the Pasadena Department of Public Health, the California Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control.