While Vigorous Advocacy Moves Forward, We Need to Support Frontline Communities Directly

No person, community or country is unaffected by the global pandemic known as COVID-19.  As an organization focused on politics, democracy and social justice, the Democracy Alliance has focused quickly and sharply, as we must, on policy debates and solutions — from assuring that the trillion dollar stimulus is directed heavily at people in crisis, not corporations, to advancing reforms that protect and enhance democracy, like voting by mail.  We’ve devoted a series of well-attended briefings to these urgent concerns, as well our “virtual” donor meeting this week.

Yet even as we fight for progressive policy responses, the scale of human need in a collapsing economy is vast, and can’t be reached soon enough – or won’t be reached sufficiently – by whatever actions governments take.  For that reason most of us have also been looking for ways to support individuals and communities – like restaurant workers and domestic workers struggling at the margins to begin with — disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus and its myriad ripple effects. Funders are also collaborating on how to make our grantee organizations whole as they grapple with immediate organizational needs. 

Within the Democracy Alliance, we have been working directly with grantees to identify their most immediate and pressing needs.  It is through that effort and communication with the field, that the New American Majority Fund will be launching the Emergency Fund – a $1 million effort to provide stipends to the field in the coming month for immediate needs such as paid sick leave, child/elderly care stipends, internet subscriptions and technology purchases, support on using technology for remote working, the purchase of supplemental data to make pivoting program a possibility, and even to experiment with digital platforms. Thanks to generous initial contributions from the National Education Association, the Civic Participation Action Fund, AFSCME, SEIU, Open Society Foundation, and Way to Win, we’re over halfway to the original goal.

To join the effort, please click here to make a contribution and earmark for the Emergency Fund.

The Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund (Equity Fund), in response to a survey of its grantees, launched the Civic Engagement Rapid Response Fund to support its grantees in 8 critical states to quickly shift their civic engagement and organizing plans from in-person to online, phones, text, and mail strategies. The Equity Fund has $500,000 for its initial round of grants and hopes to match the amount with your support. You can contact Roger Kim ([email protected]) to make a contribution.

We also thought you might find it useful to know about some of the most innovative and encouraging emergency efforts that have been launched by colleague organizations in the last few weeks.  We’ve provided links so you can give directly, and you’ll find further descriptions of what each fund has been set up for.  We know this isn’t a comprehensive list, and welcome other suggestions.  You may also find helpful, as I did this “resource hub” on coronavirus put together by our friends at the Amalgamated Bank.

Be generous, stay safe, and take care.

One Fair Wage Emergency Fund

Emergent Fund People’s Bailout

North Star Fund Future of Organizing Fund

Workers Lab COVID-19 Emergency Workers Fund

National Domestic Workers Alliance Coronavirus Care Fund

Movement Voter Project Pandemic Community Fund

Liberty Hill Foundation Rapid Response Fund for Community Organizing

Schott Foundation Loving Communities Response Fund

Campaign for Southern Equality COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund