How Comic Relief US Is Stepping Up to Help People in Crisis
Ayo Roach, Vice President of Grant Programs, shares an update on how we are supporting our partners on the front lines of today's most pressing natural and man-made disasters.
From severe weather that has produced devastating hurricanes across the U.S. South, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean to floods in Pakistan and drought that has led to extreme hunger in the Horn of Africa; refugee and migrant crises in the US and around the world; and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 2022 brought a wave of disaster resulting from climate change and political and economic instability.
Alongside those crises, we have seen communities and organizations come together to respond, delivering immediate, high-impact programs and services to children, youth and their caregivers in critical need. Comic Relief US stepped up and made 14 Rapid Response grants to 13 grantee partners totaling $1.75 million in 2022.
I have provided a few Grant Spotlights below. This partial list is meant to show a diverse range of the crises our grantee partners are responding to and is not intended to exclude or minimize the important work of others:
U.S. Rapid Response Grant Spotlights
Covenant House locations in New York City and Washington, DC have experienced an influx of youth asylum seekers from the US Southwest border fleeing violence and homelessness in their home countries. The Comic Relief US Rapid Response grant will ensure the provision of a comprehensive range of services which can include immediate shelter, nutritional meals, medical and mental health services, and legal and career support.
Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico provides immediate relief grants to community-based organizations on the Island that work with children and youth communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona. The Comic Relief US Rapid Response grant will support organizations that are addressing food and agriculture, clean water initiatives, and strengthening community health systems.
UnidosUS and its affiliates are supporting recently arrived migrant youth in Chicago, New York City, and Washington, DC, in addition to border communities in the Southwest. The Comic Relief US Rapid Response funding will support affiliate organizations that are providing services ranging from immediate needs, including food, shelter, and healthcare, to longer-term support, such as childcare, education, and mental health services.
International Rapid Response Grant Spotlights
Amref Health Africa is on the ground in northern Kenya, where communities are experiencing the worst drought in 40 years. Using the Comic Relief US Rapid Response grant, Amref will provide tools to identify and treat acute malnutrition, unsafe and inadequate water supplies, poor hygiene and sanitation, and related diseases in children under five and pregnant and breastfeeding women. The project will also provide vulnerable households with clean water.
Malala Fund is supporting girls’ education activists currently facing retribution and threats under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, the only country in the world that forbids girls from attending school. Comic Relief US Rapid Response funds will help provide flexible grants to courageous activists standing up to the Taliban and support alternative learning efforts for Afghan girls.
The Global Fund for Children has a network of frontline partners supporting people who have fled Ukraine and are assisting refugees in neighboring Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Serbia. The Comic Relief US Rapid Response grant will help provide a wide range of services tailored to winter needs, including assistance finding long-term housing and expanding food and nutritional care. They are also offering psychosocial and trauma care and legal support and are ensuring that children have access to online or in-person schooling.
Nutrition International is providing humanitarian assistance in Pakistan’s flood-damaged communities. Nutrition International has been working to mitigate the health and nutrition impacts of the disaster, and with the Comic Relief US Rapid Response grant, they will be able to enhance the delivery and provision of zinc and oral rehydration salts (ORS) — which prevent diarrhea and help the body absorb critical micronutrients — to children under five. Diarrhea and malnutrition are leading causes of death for young children and an urgent concern at this time.
We invite you to join us in supporting the critical, life-saving work of our grantee partners at this time. The complete list of our Rapid Response grants made in 2022 is below:
- Action Against Hunger
- Amref Health Africa
- Covenant House
- Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico
- Global Fund for Children (Ukraine)
- Global Fund for Children (Pakistan)
- Helen Keller International
- Lumos Foundation USA
- Malala Fund
- Nutrition International
- Plan International USA
- Room to Read
- Save the Children