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Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg’s Carl Lavender talks equity in the time of coronavirus

Megan Holmes

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The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce presents: Coronavirus Impact Insights

On this episode of Chamber Coronavirus Impact Insights, Carl Lavender, Chief Equity Office at the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg joins Chris Steinocher, CEO of the St. Petersburg Chamber and Joe Hamilton, publisher of St. Pete Catalyst to talk about how the Foundation is driving equity in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg was formed following the sale of Bayfront Hospital. Its mission to advance health equity in South Pinellas County. The Foundation deploys both grant dollars and education to advance that mission. Over the past five years, it has awarded $20 million to organizations throughout St. Petersburg, and trained more than 500 people in the Courageous Conversations About Race program.

“We are the equity advocate,” Lavender says. Eventually, the Foundation hopes other organizations will take up the mission as well.

From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Foundation has been working to aid organizations in St. Petersburg by allowing them to repurpose funds already granted by the Foundation for Covid-19 response activities. As the Foundation moves forward in its response to the pandemic, it will be focused in what Lavender describes as three buckets: Disease mitigation in partnership with the county’s public health department, the consequences of a Covid-19 related recession and its effects particular on communities of color, and helping nonprofits in distress by scaling small, trusted nonprofits and enhancing key strategies already in effect.

Lavender called out one small nonprofit in particular, Advantage Village Academy, run by local Toriano Parker, as one of those small, trusted nonprofits that the Foundations wants to support.

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