Gerstner Philanthropies COVID-19 Response

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PHOTO CREDIT: Mayo Clinic

  • Columbia University Announces 2020 Louis V. Gerstner Jr., Scholars

    Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons have selected this year's cohort of Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars. The group includes four physician-scientists at the college and a fifth physician-scientist has been named a 2020 Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Merit Awardee. The Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholars Program annually supports tenure-track physicians who conduct research that has the promise to bring new treatments to patients. The fund provides a stipend of $75,000 per year, for up to three years, to support the awardees’ research projects. Scholars are nominated by a committee of distinguished research faculty and selected by the VP&S dean. The program has named scholars every year since 2008. The program also presents the Gerstner Merit Award to an outstanding third-year Louis V. Gerstner Jr. Scholar who has made great strides in research.

    Read more at columbia.edu
  • An ‘Avalanche of Evictions’ Could Be Bearing Down on America’s Renters

    The United States, already wrestling with an economic collapse not seen in a generation, is facing a wave of evictions as government relief payments and legal protections run out for millions of out-of-work Americans who have little financial cushion and few choices when looking for new housing. The hardest hit are tenants who had low incomes and little savings even before the pandemic, and whose housing costs ate up more of their paychecks. They were also more likely to work in industries where job losses have been particularly severe. Temporary government assistance has helped, as have government orders that put evictions on hold in many cities. But evictions will soon be allowed in about half of the states, according to Emily A. Benfer, a housing expert and associate professor at Columbia Law School who is tracking eviction policies. “I think we will enter into a severe renter crisis and very quickly,” Professor Benfer said. Without a new round of government intervention, she added, “we will have an avalanche of evictions across the country.”

    Read more at nytimes.com
  • Helping Hands Program Update: COVID-19 and Q1 Trends
    May 21, 2020

    Our Helping Hands grantee social services organizations are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. We communicate with our Helping Hands grantee organizations informally throughout the year, and each quarter we ask them to report formally on program statistics, trends, and case studies. The effects of the pandemic only began to show at the very end of the quarter, but we have already identified some interesting trends, such as an increase in need for food and a decrease in the demand for rental assistance.

    Read the Helping Hands Q1 Trend Report
  • Domestic Violence Calls Mount as Restrictions Linger: ‘No One Can Leave’

    Americans have been cooped up at home for months to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many of them living in small spaces, reeling from sudden job losses and financial worries. Children are home from school in every state in the country. That confinement has led to another spiraling crisis: Doctors and advocates for victims are seeing signs of an increase in violence at home. They are hearing accounts of people lashing out, particularly at women and children. “No one can leave,” Kim Foxx, the chief prosecutor in Chicago, said in an interview. “You’re literally mandating that people who probably should not be together in the same space stay.” The problems have only deepened since stay-at-home orders were first imposed.

    Read more at nytimes.com
  • Who Has Enough Cash to Get Through the Coronavirus Crisis?

    Even before Covid-19, many Americans were living check to check, because of the costs of housing and child care, student debt payments, medical bills and the rest. Fewer than half of American adults — just 47 percent — say that they have enough emergency funds to cover three months of expenses, according to a survey conducted this month by the Pew Research Center. In the coronavirus’s wake, those without savings may also be losing their jobs, leaving them with little to support their families other than the CARES Act relief from the government, help from charitable groups or GoFundMe or Venmo tip jar campaigns. This won’t be enough to save many families from ruin.

    Read more at nytimes.com