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Support for Essential Workers During Covid-19

Assessment of Support for Essential Workers

Frontline workers make it possible for the District of Columbia to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the many challenges they face as individuals. DC Appleseed welcomed the opportunity to assess the adequacy of the support being given frontline workers during the pandemic and to expand that support.

In April of 2020, the Greater Washington Community Foundation asked DC Appleseed to examine whether sufficient support was being given to frontline workers and what more might be done to close any gaps. We began with research and interviewing as well as exploring exemplary efforts in other communities. Our initial focus was on hospital and healthcare workers – including all hospital and healthcare staff. We soon realized that it was necessary to expand our definition of frontline and essential workers to include those without whom hospital and healthcare workers wouldn’t be able to meet the needs of the community: those in the childcare, grocery, transportation, sanitation, and postal delivery sectors.

We identified the challenges facing frontline and essential workers and the resources available to address these challenges. In November of 2020, we published this information in our report entitled D.C. Frontline and Essential Workers’ Needs During COVID-19. 

​Our report concluded with two important recommendations: (1) creation of a comprehensive clearinghouse of available resources for healthcare and other essential workers; and (2) implementation of a cash relief fund for healthcare and other essential workers.

At the beginning of 2021, we created the clearinghouse website with information about resources for essential workers. Donations to support cash assistance for frontline and essential workers can be made at this site by individuals, corporations, philanthropic organizations and others. Martha's Table, Mary's Center, DC Dream Center, and Leadership Council for Healthy Communities partnered with us to distribute this cash assistance to frontline and essential workers.

Recommendations for Improving Support


Staff Contact:

Neil Richardson

Pro Bono Partners:

Hogan Lovells

Covington & Burling

Weil Gotshal & Manges

DLA Piper

Essential Health Care Workers

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