The nonprofit relief organization co-founded by Sean Penn and Ann Lee is offering private COVID-19 testing to Los Angeles-based film and TV productions, the net profits from which will help fund the organization’s free testing for at-risk and low-income communities.
Their Community Organized Relief Effort – which has helped victims of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti and numerous other natural disasters – already has provided more than 1.3 million free tests to low-income communities.
“We are eager to offer private testing to film and television productions to not only help fund CORE’s programs that help vulnerable and underserved communities, but also to fortify California’s economy,” Penn said. “Enabling production companies to safely resume projects with testing will bring back thousands of film and television jobs to Los Angeles, and that’s a critical next step for restoring life in our city.”
Said Lee: “We have expanded to private testing to help offset the amount of funding necessary to continue offering free testing and critical relief services for vulnerable communities who have been significantly – and disproportionately – impacted by the pandemic. We could no longer wait for government agencies to respond by providing additional funding and support. This is a small step towards securing funds to keep our nonprofit operations afloat.”
With national, state and local funding and support for COVID-19 testing rapidly depleting, CORE said it’s helping to fund free testing for at-risk and low-income communities through a paid testing model, with 100% of the net profits supporting the organization’s community testing programs. The organization said it plans to expand testing services to other production hubs in the U.S. as well.
CORE’s free testing for underserved communities is currently being implemented in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New Orleans and the Navajo Nation. Founded in the wake of the Haiti earthquake, the organization has expanded to support communities in The Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the United States. “CORE has taken a leadership position in the COVID-19 response,” it says, “and is committed to an integrated approach, which is inclusive of streamlined testing with timely results; comprehensive and timely contact tracing programs, and supported quarantine and isolation services that provide shelter, food, and wage replacement.” The free testing program serves low-income groups, communities of color, first responders and essential workers.
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