Hispanic Liaison awarded grant from NC Healthcare Association to expand operations

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SILER CITY — The Hispanic Liaison, or El Vínculo Hispano, a grassroots non-profit organization based in Siler City, received a grant — totaling $98,480 — from the North Carolina Healthcare Association as part of its COVID-19 Fill the Gap Response Fund.

“We are thrilled, needless to say, to have received this grant from the North Carolina Healthcare Association,” said Ilana Dubester, its founder and executive director.

The organization, whose mission is to foster intercultural understanding and to empower Hispanics in the community, plans to use the funds to open a satellite office in Lee County and to expand advocacy, community education and outreach efforts to protect the rights of poultry processing workers and to ensure the community has access to emergency assistance.

Dubester said another part of those outreach efforts will include hiring a communications manager.

“We’re looking to hire someone who can manage our social media, website and put out emails so that we can put out more forms of communication than we regularly do now,” she said.

Funds will also offset some expenses related to the Chatham Solidarity Fund, a recent fundraising effort which is now distributing money to families who do not qualify for stimulus checks because of their immigration status.

The COVID-19 Fill the Gap Response Fund gave grants to just 19 organizations out of 247 applicants, from around the state, totaling $1.6 million. The fund was formed to help North Carolina’s communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 — especially as data illustrates the pandemic is spreading more rapidly among vulnerable communities.

As of June 12, the Latinx community made up about 43 percent of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina, yet make up just 9.3 percent of the total population. According to data from the 2010 Census, 49.8 percent of Siler City’s residents identified as Hispanic/Latino.

Jai Kumar, strategy and program development officer for the North Carolina Healthcare Association, said part of the reason The Hispanic Liaison was awarded the grant was because of its commitment to the Latinx community.

“The Hispanic and Latinx community has really seen a marked increase in cases and we started seeing that trend earlier,” he said. “The Hispanic Liaison wanted to not only expand to a new office in Lee County, but also wanted to continue to provide education and communication to a population that is very much in need of trusted entities to help them navigate this pandemic.”

The application period for the second round of “Fill the Gap” funds is now open. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on June 22 by 5 p.m. Please submit all questions to covidrelief@ncha.org

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