BET Raises $16 Million to Support African American Communities Impacted By COVID-19

10 Jul BET Raises $16 Million to Support African American Communities Impacted By COVID-19

United Way of Greater Los Angeles partners with BET to Distribute Mutual Aid Resources to Five LA Based Organizations to Support South LA Families

BET has leveraged its resources with creative, business, and community partners to underwrite and produce “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort,” which aired Wednesday, April 22, and raised $16 million for 30 community-based organizations serving African-American communities nationwide. The BET COVID-19 Relief Fund will donate 100% of the funds raised to help African-American communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the way our audience, leaders in our community and our business partners have stepped up to address the devastating impact of COVID-19 on African Americans,” said Scott Mills, President of BET. “I am forever grateful to the talent and production team who pulled off that extraordinary show from home! We will continue this work, and we will continue to raise funds to assist those that need it most.”

The star-studded benefit was hosted by Regina Hall, Kelly Rowland, Terrence J, and Anthony Anderson, and featured appearances from Usher, Snoop Dogg, Cardi B, H.E.R., D Smoke, and Kirk Franklin. Initial donations came from Black business leaders that partnered with United Way Worldwide, the largest private funder of human services in the United States. With a presence in 95% of communities across the country, United Way is unparalleled in its power to convene local partners, providers, and resources to address the needs of the vulnerable. 

The BET Covid-19 Relief Fund received generous grants from Blue Meridian Partners, Charles And Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and The Ford Foundation. Corporate donations from top brands included Facebook, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Toyota, McDonald’s, BNY Mellon, AmEx, AARP, Pine-Sol®, Morgan Stanley, TJX, WW (formerly Weight Watchers), the NBA, and Popeyes. Mills and BET believe that United Way is well-positioned to direct the funds raised to where they are most needed through trusted organizations selected to steward Relief Fund donations responsibly. In Los Angeles, United Way of Greater Los Angeles and BET will partner with community-based organizations that include the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles, A New Way of Life, Los Angeles Black Worker Center, LA CAN, and Community Coalition (CoCo). 

For the past 30 years, CoCo has brought the residents of South LA together to build leadership, launch action campaigns, and create a unified voice for change. By working to transform the social and economic conditions that foster inequity, CoCo aims to shift power and policy through advocacy and organizing that is led by everyday people.

“South LA has experienced significant economic disinvestment and disadvantage for decades. Many residents never recovered from the 2008 deep recession that the country experienced–all of which makes the impact of COVID-19 especially devastating in South LA,” said Gerri Lawrence, Deputy Director of Advancement for Community Coalition. “The stabilizing resources raised from BET could mean the difference between families that we are able to touch with these resources being housed and fed as they navigate the fear and uncertainty of this pandemic. CoCo is proud to partner with BET and United Way of Greater Los Angeles to help step up for South LA residents who have stepped up and fought for their community to advance racial and economic justice for the benefit of so many across the region and state.”   

Since the onset of shelter in place orders, CoCo has been laser-focused on the concerns and needs of South LA. Organizers have been on the phones continually speaking directly to community members to connect, reassure, listen, and assess what their needs are in the wake of COVID-19. After doing an initial community needs assessment, CoCo found that families in under-served communities were primarily concerned with three significant issues: housing displacement, food insecurity, and the continuation of education through access to technology. The funding provided by the “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Fund” will help families hit hard by COVID-19 pay their rent and utilities, purchase groceries, cover medical expenses, and close the digital divide. 

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