ST. LOUIS ( -- African Americans are some of the hardest hit by COVID-19 in St. Louis and one person is offering millions worth of grants to those who are making a difference in the community. 

So many people are pinching pennies and trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents. People are hurting. People are struggling. And some just don't know where to turn. But one organization is offering more than 2 million reasons to find hope.

In nearly every part of St. Louis City and County, the novel coronavirus is hitting the black community especially hard.

[READ: 46% of population. 68% of deaths. Virus shows 'inequities' in St. Louis African American community, doctors say]

Attacking the virus Dr. Starsky Wilson says is goal number one. Wilson is with the Deaconess Foundation.

"It's critically important, right now, as we see the first deaths for COVID-19 and a disproportionate amount of deaths for COVID-19 in the region are African Americans," Wilson said.

He's ready to put his money where his mouth is to address the coronavirus pandemic head on.

As part of the Deaconess Foundation, Wilson is giving $2.2 million worth of grants to black-led organizations.

"I carry the grief and mourning that everyone else does, but all the pain and sense of loss to servants in this community," Wilson said.

Angela Brown is the CEO of the St. Louis Regional Health Commission. Her organization is getting $250,000.

"It's definitely not enough," Brown said. "I think the need, out here, is great. But, it is definitely a good amount to get us started."

The commission works to give healthcare access to those insured and uninsured.

She'll use the money to focus on people older than 50 whether black or white in the St. Louis community.

One problem she sees right away is low income. Another is no transportation.

"When you say shelter in place, you asked them to not have visitors, things like food and other basic needs is something these funds will be able to support," Brown said.

Brown's commission plans to help enhance testing, deliver basic services and assist those with mental illnesses.

Wilson believes all are on the road to the best relief and recovery for social change

"We recognize philanthropy is not the work. The work is the work," Wilson said.

So far, 31 organizations have applied. You can learn more about the foundation and apply for a grant here. 

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