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BhamStrong Fights COVID-19 by Partnering with Local Nonprofits

Stanley Robinson of the Birmingham Parks and Recreation department models a BhamStrong mask made by CHRISTINE Mclean and her group of people .

BhamStrong has launched a new program to fight COVID-19 by staffing Birmingham Strong Service Corps members to local nonprofits performing relief services. In the BhamStrong Nonprofit Partnership, Service Corps Members work under the supervision and direction of approved nonprofit organizations for two to eight weeks, while being paid by BhamStrong.

The Corps was launched last month with the help of private donors and $1 million from the city of Birmingham.

BhamStrong’s mission is to empower workers and support the Birmingham community to build resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this new program, BhamStrong amplifies the impact of nonprofit projects that meet COVID relief needs for Birmingham residents.

During a two-week pilot, BhamStrong has placed five corps members at Breakthrough Birmingham, which gives free summer programming to Birmingham City middle school students and the Offender Alumni Association, which empowers former offenders and their families to actively engage in reducing crime and restoring communities.

Following the pilot program’s success, BhamStrong has officially opened its online portal to take applications from organizations seeking support.

Deborah Daniels, the president of the Offender Alumni Association said, “Service Corps Members have assisted us with hosting our virtual support discussions, transcribing audio meetings to text for records, and contacting clients to provide guidance with referral resources. We have additional hands on deck which allows us to be responsive to emergency needs without feeling overwhelmed.”

“With all of the uncertainty that this COVID crisis brings, Breakthrough Birmingham knew that it would be even more important to make sure student programming took place this summer. Partnering with BhamStrong allows us to continue providing the quality our students and families deserve and have come to expect. It’s exciting to see Birmingham support its community members and nonprofits during this difficult period,” said Mariohn Michel, Executive Director of Breakthrough Birmingham.

“Birmingham’s main asset is our community,” said Suzanna Fritzberg, Executive Director of BhamStrong. “Through the BhamStrong Nonprofit Partnership, we are proud to bring together organizations driving COVID relief efforts, and Service Corps Members who are eager to support their impactful work. We are grateful for the support of local donors and the City of Birmingham that enables the Service Corps to continue to meet community needs during this challenging time.”

BhamStrong tested pilot projects for the Corps last month and successfully deployed nearly 100 unemployed workers into paid hourly job opportunities. Pilot projects included engaging with Birmingham public housing communities and phone screening residents for COVID-19 symptoms via a call center as well as meal preparation and delivery for Birmingham City School students that were in the free lunch program.

Nonprofit organizations can apply for the program and to be matched with Service Corps Members at www.bhamstrong.com/corp-nonprofit.