The Simón Bolívar Foundation Inc., the non-profit, private foundation of CITGO Petroleum Corporation, is awarding up to $278,380 from its COVID-19 Small Grants Program to ten 501(c)(3) charitable organizations for the ongoing development of health-focused projects in Venezuela. These organizations join the program’s earlier grantees, bringing the number to 15 nonprofit organizations for a total donation of $475,343 in grants to help Venezuelans in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The beneficiaries include American Initiatives for Social Development Foundation, A Better America Foundation as fiscal sponsor for Ascardio, Big Little JC Organization, Universidad Simón Bolívar Alumni Association of America Inc. as fiscal sponsor for Code for Venezuela, Action of Solidarity Inc. as fiscal sponsor for Convite, Primeros Auxilios Ulandinos, Saludos Connection as fiscal sponsor for Programa de Atención al Adulto Mayor, I Love Venezuela as fiscal sponsor for Ven Da Tu Mano, Sociedad Amigos del Hospital de Especialidades Pediátricas, among others. These organizations were selected by the Simón Bolívar Foundation from a pool of 30 applicants through a competitive review process administered by an experienced advisory committee.

“We completed this extraordinary round of our Small Grants COVID 19 program in record timing, thanks to the quick response we received from charitable organizations from the Venezuelan diaspora. Their willingness to help address these health-related challenges speaks volumes about their continued commitment to Venezuelans in need, and we are sure these projects will make a significant difference in the fight against the pandemic and beyond,” said Mariela Poleo, president of the Simón Bolívar Foundation.

The selected projects focus on minimizing the coronavirus effect in a country that is already enduring a complex humanitarian emergency further complicated by a rapidly deteriorating public health system and include the following programs: supply of personal protection equipment and medicines, sponsoring of local production of face shields, training for first responders and emergency services personnel, and equipment such as an ambulance and testing material.

Other initiatives target vulnerable populations by supplying food, nutritional supplements, sanitation materials, and access to telemedicine. Together, these projects will translate to direct benefits for more than 36,000 individuals, 6,500 health professionals, serve 73 soup kitchens and community centers, and seven hospitals in nine Venezuelan cities throughout the country.

“We would like to express our appreciation for the donation approved by the Simón Bolívar Foundation to our institution, it encourages us to continue working during this worldwide challenging situation that is the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for trusting us,” affirmed Bartolomé Finizola Celli, Medical Director of Ascardio.

In addition to the Small Grants program, the Simón Bolívar Foundation has also awarded more than $125,000 to other nonprofit organizations for pandemic efforts in Venezuela through its Emergency Relief Fund, and it has successfully organized four knowledge transfer webinars on COVID-19 related issues.

Final awards for the grantees are contingent on full due diligence and execution of the grant agreement.