by Lydia Blanco – While millions of Americans are waiting to receive a stimulus check from the government, political figures and leaders have banded together to launch “Project 100,” a campaign that aims to send $1,000 to 100,000 families hit hardest by COVID-19.
Founded by GiveDirectly, Stand for Children, and Propel, “Project 100” has already raised $55 million thanks to the support of a broad and diverse network of national leaders. The initiative is backed by Stacey Abrams, Andrew Yang, Schusterman Family Foundation, Blue Meridian Partners; seed funders Flourish Ventures, Google.org; Flu Lab, Wend Collective, Blue Haven Initiative, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ariana Grande, Halsey, Patrick Adams, Camilla Luddington, Andra Day, Sundar Pichai, and NBA Cares among others.
Over the last several weeks, GiveDirectly and Propel’s COVID-19 Relief Fund pilot program sent cash to nearly 5,000 families across 21 states in some of America’s hardest-hit communities.
In a statement released by Project 100, Abrams shared the impact she is hopeful and confident the money donated to families will have.
“I proudly support GiveDirectly and Propel’s Project 100 as it provides a critical lifeline to Americans living paycheck to paycheck who have been crushed by the COVID pandemic,” said Abrams. “Families in Georgia, in the South and around the country need the additional support that the current CARES package can’t provide. The most economically vulnerable are struggling to survive, unable to afford groceries or medicines for their children, let alone cover utilities, car payments, and rent. Antiquated government technology has delayed assistance for tens of millions of families. We all need to pull together and serve as many families and children as we can reach. I hope anyone with the means to contribute to Project 100 will do so.”
Low-income and rural areas around the nation are experiencing disproportionate financial insecurities as a result of the global pandemic. Many of them are essential workers who do not have the luxury of sheltering in place. So, they must continue to work and provide.
“Families across America struggling to put food on the table or make rent can’t wait for help and we aren’t waiting either,” said Michael Faye, CEO of GiveDirectly, a globally recognized nonprofit that enables donors to send money directly to poor families around the world. “That’s why we’re launching Project 100, a collaborative effort to fund $1,000 in immediate cash assistance to 100,000 families over the next 100 days. With more than a decade of experience empowering people in need through direct cash transfers, we are uniquely positioned to help some of the most vulnerable families across America make ends meet at this critical moment.”
Meeting the Needs of America
Basic essentials like food and shelter have been jeopardized as parents work to get by during the gig economy and unpredictable workforce.
“SNAP participants are dealing with an unprecedented level of hardship,” said Jimmy Chen, CEO of Propel. “Through our Fresh EBT app, which is used by millions of SNAP households nationally, we’ve gotten a window into what the pandemic has meant for low-income families. Nearly all low-income workers have lost earnings due to COVID-19, and the risk of completely running out of food and resources is imminent. Stable housing is now at risk for many. Families are dealing with impossible choices, and it’s clear to us that the best way to provide relief is through immediate cash aid at scale.
For many families with children, these uncertain times are more difficult now than ever. That is why Stand for Children, a national education advocacy organization with thousands of active parent volunteers in underserved communities, and its CEO Jonah Edelman, has contributed vital fundraising, communications, and operations expertise to bring Project 100 to life, and, to minimize overhead. Stand staff are helping GiveDirectly respond to inquiries from Fresh EBT users selected to receive direct payments.
“It’s heartbreaking to see so many hardworking, resourceful, and loving parents struggling to meet their children’s basic needs,” said Edelman. “This is an all hands on deck emergency but, due to outdated technology, the government’s response has been tragically slow for far too many families. That’s why Stand for Children is joining together with Propel and GiveDirectly to take their outstanding pilot COVID-19 response effort to scale via Project 100.”