Families and individuals served by A New Leaf represent populations who are the most vulnerable to the social and economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, including those who face challenges related to homelessness, domestic violence, underlying mental and physical chronic health conditions, and a lack of resources due to financial instability. With 30 programs, impacting 28,000 people a year, services address nearly all social determinants of health related to long-term economic and housing stability. This includes emergency shelter, supportive housing, domestic violence support services, financial empowerment, behavioral and primary health care, foster care, early childhood education, and family preservation services. The needs of families and individuals who are struggling with poverty and instability are complex. A New Leaf offers a continuum of services and guidance, from crisis to long-term stability, meeting people where they are in their journey, honoring their goals, and creating opportunities for meaningful change.
The Impact of COVID-19
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, A New Leaf has faced funding challenges to cover program expenses, as well as increased expenses for clients’ basic needs, facility sanitization, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and clients.
A New Leaf projects that the pandemic’s impact on the economy will result in a loss of approximately $2 million in individual donor contributions, fundraising event revenue, in-kind donations, and volunteer engagement. The organization’s annual gala in February was cancelled, resulting in a $500,000 loss in program funding.
The loss of volunteer engagement has a big impact for shelter programs, like the East Valley Men’s Center, which typically operates with a very low budget for food because it relies on the coordination of volunteer groups to provide, prepare, and serve dinners every night of the year for its 94 shelter residents. Volunteers provide a number of services and needs for many of A New Leaf’s programs. Under normal circumstances, over 300 volunteers give their time and resources each month, but has been reduced significantly over the last several months.
United for the Valley COVID-19 Fund Impact
United for the Valley funding has helped to cover extraneous program related expenses for cleaning and personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure the health and safety of our clients and staff. Funding also supported the provision of essential basic needs and food for individuals and families in shelter, above and beyond normal program costs due to significant losses of donations and volunteer support.
“Valley of the Sun United Way is partnering with A New Leaf in response to the impacts of COVID-19 to sustain vital Early Childhood Education programming at Phoenix Day AND to expand Workforce Development Services to help community members who have been displaced from employment. Thank you, VSUW and community donors, for your support in helping our community to recover and thrive!"- Laura Bode, Director of Community & Civic Engagement
Angelica visited A New Leaf’s MesaCAN Workforce Lab last week and received assistance with updating her resume, job searching, and interviewing skills. She left feeling confident for her interview, and successfully obtained employment as a dental assistant.
Derek came from a background that included trauma and was practically non-verbal. He did not smile much or interact when he enrolled at Phoenix Day. Derek’s ASQ-3 developmental screening showed that he was behind in some areas, especially language and communication. Although quiet, shy, and put off by large group activities, Derek really began to enjoy music time. Staff noticed that he would hum along with the songs and even try to say the words. Through encouragement and individual attention, he started to develop the confidence to try to talk and engage in more language interactions. Derek’s follow-up developmental screening showed growth in language and communication, and he began initiating conversations with his teachers and peers. He had come a long way and could now ask for what he needed and wanted. Although some of his speech was still difficult to understand, he continued to practice. The staff loved to hear him sing and participate in music time.
In addition to the support necessary to cover ongoing fundraising losses, in-kind donations, volunteer support, funding is also needed to build the organization’s capacity for meeting the changing needs of the community in response to the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order for clients to work remotely and children to keep up with school virtually, equipment and system upgrades are desired to allow computer and internet access.
We are grateful for the ability to help ACTIVATE solutions for A New Leaf by providing funding for them to support the ever changing needs of our community through this difficult times.
For more information on grants distributed in the community, please visit www.vsuw.org/covid19grants. To learn about our organization’s first seven weeks of local response read our ‘Response Report’ available at www.vsuw.org/covidreport.