First 5 California Commission Approves Additional $2 Million in COVID-19 Relief Funding

Commissioners Responsive to Ongoing Need in Hardest-Hit Communities

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--()--On March 10, 2020, the First 5 California Commission (Commission) held an emergency meeting to consider augmenting prior investments of $5 million to acquire and distribute emergency supplies for local communities throughout California. Following a staff report and compelling public testimony on the emergency supply program’s efficacy and impact, the Commission acted to increase funding in the amount of $2 million through this summer.

“We have the ability, resources, and a moral duty to provide additional relief for the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and its effects,” said Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, First 5 Commission Chair. “I’d like to thank First 5 Executive Director Camille Maben and her staff for bringing this critical issue to the Commission for consideration. Acting decisively has allowed the Commission to make the community better by providing safe, sound, and effective supports.”

“The Commission has once again unanimously provided funding that will benefit the community, especially those communities inordinately affected by this deadly pandemic,” said Camille Maben, Executive Director of First 5 California. “I want to thank the Commission once again for their leadership and for acting with urgency to address this pressing need. The Commission’s actions will ensure those hardest-hit communities will receive equitable benefits without a pause in relief.”

To date, the emergency supply program has successfully distributed:

  • 6.4 million masks for adults and children
  • 4.1 million disposable gloves
  • 16.6 million units of cleaning supplies
  • 8.4 million baby wipes
  • 5.7 million diapers
  • 317,000 units of hand soaps and sanitizers
  • 216,000 children’s books
  • 402,000 units of formula, and
  • 11,000 First 5 California-branded touchless thermometers

The Commission originally authorized $4 million in funding during an emergency meeting on April 13, 2020, during the initial stages of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, with an additional $1 million committed during the Commission’s May 15, 2020 meeting.

To establish the emergency supply program, First 5 California worked in concert with representatives from the Governor's Office and the Administration, local First 5 county commissions, the First 5 Association, and child care advocates to identify the most-needed supplies, along with strategies to obtain them.

“Our communities and partners have let First 5 California and the Commission know, in no uncertain terms, how life-saving this aid has been for children, families, and providers during this unprecedented time,” said Max Vargas, Deputy Director at First 5 California. “For marginalized and hard-to-reach communities, these supplies provided the means to stay safe, to keep essential businesses open, and to further combat the effects of the pandemic.”

First 5 California will continue working with SupplyBank.Org, a leading California-based nonprofit specializing in bulk purchasing, to facilitate the purchase and distribution of these supplies. The Emergency Supply Program has effectively and efficiently distributed supplies as the vast majority of funds were utilized for materials costs and shipping. In addition, the supplies were procured below market value and leveraged in-kind support through private donations, collectively providing an added benefit to counties and their partners.

For more information about First 5 California, visit


First 5 California was established in 1998 when voters passed Proposition 10, which taxes tobacco products to fund services for children ages 0 to 5 and their families. First 5 California programs and resources are designed to educate and support teachers, parents, and caregivers in the critical role they play during a child's first five years – to help California kids receive the best possible start in life and thrive. For more information, please visit


Oscar Ramirez
(916) 263-0666

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First 5 California Commission Approves Additional $2 Million in COVID-19 Relief Funding

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Oscar Ramirez
(916) 263-0666