Emergent Fund awards second round of COVID-19 Relief Grants

Already since January 2020, WDN members have proudly moved $750,000 to the Emergent Fund, with $450,000 since the pandemic. $100,000 of this funding was specifically designated for COVID-response work. In just the last month and a half, this funding has been leveraged into over $1.4 million in commitments to COVID-response funding from other funders and individual donors.

The Fund is focusing grantmaking on organizations that: (1) are mobilizing to respond to the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable communities; (2) are utilizing power-building strategies including but not limited to digital organizing, membership development and outreach, narrative development, direct action; and (3) are led by communities of color.

To date, the Fund has moved $818,000 to 99 grantees! We have received over 200 proposals for COVID-specific efforts.

Among the initial grants for COVID-response work, some examples include:

  • Portland Jobs with Justice, for their work to launch an organizing campaign for Portland food service workers, many of whom have lost jobs or are working in unsafe conditions due to the lack of paid sick leave, health care, and protections for immigrants.
  • Return to the Heart Foundation, a visionary Indigenous women-led hybrid organization that intimately understands and has deep relationships with native grassroots communities. They are seeking COVID-19 Response funding to identify and support urgent safety needs of Indian Country including Rapid Covid Tests and Personal Protective Equipment supplies; identify, connect, and support traditional healers for mental health, spiritual, and cultural information access; and support restorative and regenerative strategies that support farming efforts to reclaim and repair traditional territories to provide food and medicine.
  • Mekong NYC, for work focused on improving the quality of life of the Southeast Asian community in the Bronx and throughout New York City by achieving equity through community organizing and healing, promoting arts, culture, and language, and creating a safety net by improving access to essential social services. They have a health justice campaign, a campaign for nail salon workers, and anti-deportation campaigns organized by Cambodian and Vietnamese American women.

The Emergent Fund team, led by director Alicia Sanchez Gill, is working to remain nimble and responsive to the needs on the ground, and because the need has not dissipated, intends to continue funding COVID-19 related work through June, and longer, if necessary, with a goal of reviewing proposals every two weeks.

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