Accelerating Blue Meridian’s Emergency Response to COVID-19
May 21, 2020
Blue Meridian Partners is deploying capital to organizations focused on vulnerable communities as an immediate response to the current crisis.
We are acutely aware that the coronavirus pandemic is causing immense, disproportionate harm to the most vulnerable people in the US. Blue Meridian’s immediate response is guided by three mantras: act now, partner with others, and trust social sector leaders and community residents. In this vein, we are committing $100 million for COVID-19 emergency relief to help low-income people who are at the greatest risk of falling through the cracks receive direct cash transfers and get access to public benefits for which they are already eligible.
Beyond the emergency relief funding, we are dedicated to supporting our existing investees to help them weather the storm and, when they are ready, accelerate work to meet the growing needs this pandemic has engendered. Additionally, Blue Meridian will continue to adapt our investment approach to ensure recovery can take hold in marginalized communities that suffer disproportionately due to historic and systemic inequities.
Ultimately, we hope our efforts respond to immediate needs, support equitable recovery, and strengthen our ongoing efforts to boost economic mobility for young people and families trapped in poverty.
Funding for Blue Meridian’s COVID-19 emergency response was contributed by all our General Partners and Impact Partners.
Additional support was provided by The David Tepper Family Foundation, The Druckenmiller Foundation, The Duke Endowment, George Kaiser Family Foundation, The JPB Foundation, MacKenzie Bezos, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and others.
We are currently supporting social sector organizations that provide direct cash assistance to especially vulnerable individuals and families who need financial assistance immediately and cannot access public benefits quickly enough. We will also fund efforts to help millions more low-income people access billions of dollars in public aid for which they are eligible. As we fund organizations in the coming weeks, we will post them here. To date, we have made initial investments in the following set of organizations:
Family Independence Initiative (FII) trusts and invests directly in low-income people so they can work individually and collectively to achieve prosperity. Using FII’s technology platform UPTogether, people experiencing poverty can build and exchange social capital and access unrestricted cash transfers to help them accomplish goals on their own self-determined paths. In the wake of COVID-19, FII is expanding to new cities to provide cash transfers and support to families in need.Visit Website
GiveDirectly is the leading global NGO specialized in delivering digital cash transfers. In response to COVID-19, GiveDirectly has partnered with Propel to identify vulnerable U.S. households on SNAP and deliver direct cash assistance.Visit Website
National Domestic Workers Alliance organizes to improve the lives and work conditions for home care workers, nannies and house cleaners. Its Coronavirus Care Fund provides direct cash for emergency assistance to its members who are experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.Visit Website
One Fair Wage is providing cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers and more who are no longer able to work due to the COVID-19 crisis and need these dollars to survive.Visit Website
The Workers Lab is providing direct cash assistance to gig and contract workers who do not have access to employer-based benefits in the wake of the current pandemic. It leverages Canary, a project incubated by The Workers Lab, for getting cash to verified applicants quickly.Visit Website
A partnership between BET and United Way will provide critical financial, educational, and community support directly to the African Americans affected by COVID-19. In addition to a broadcast special and town halls, their joint relief fund will disburse resources to community-based organizations in an initial set of cities most impacted by the crisis: New York City, Atlanta, New Orleans, Detroit, and Chicago.Visit Website
Code for America uses digital technology to bridge the gap between government and American citizens by improving access to resources to impact social change. The GetYourRefund.org initiative will expand its capacity to help millions of low-income people access federal stimulus funds and Earned Income Tax Credit benefits for which they are eligible.Visit Website
Benefits Data Trust provides comprehensive application assistance to eligible individuals to help them gain financial stability. Given the increasing needs for public assistance due to the economic losses from the crisis, Benefits Data Trust will expand capacity to connect more households to benefits in Colorado, Maryland North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, unlocking millions in public aid.Visit Website
To support those in need during the COVID-19 crisis, New America is performing rapid research and data analysis to advance policies that improve benefits access for vulnerable people, as well as support for a short-term federal and state advocacy effort.Visit Website
211 is a free, confidential referral and information helpline and website that connects people to essential health and human services. As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Way/211 partnership will expand 211’s capacity to manage increased call volume and leverage other United Way assets to assist up to two million low-income households to apply for or access federal stimulus funds.Visit Website
In response to COVID-19, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities will engage the marketing and communications firm, GMMB, to support state agencies with resources to reach potentially millions of low-income Americans with critical information on how to access Economic Impact Payments and other benefits.Visit Website
The Justice and Mobility Fund is supporting CEO’s Returning Citizen Stimulus initiative, which uses CEO’s paycard platform to provide individuals coming home from prison or jail with immediate direct cash and a gateway to re-entry services in 27 cities across the country.Visit Website
Mission Asset Fund is an established provider of financial education and loans for low-income families. Their Immigrant Families Fund targets vulnerable populations experiencing financial hardship that are unlikely to receive Economic Impact Payments, including the 6 million immigrants working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis by providing them with direct cash transfers.Visit Website
Hispanics in Philanthropy is a leading grant maker focused on the needs of Hispanic and Latinx communities. Their partnership with Justice for Migrant Women launched the Essential Fund – targeting Latinx essential workers during the crisis and their families and the Farmworkers’ Relief Fund, specifically serving farmworkers, improving their access to benefits and providing direct cash relief.Visit Website
The Native American Community Response Fund serves Native Americans living on the Navajo Nation and in 13 metropolitan areas where over 70% of Native Americans live by distributing direct cash assistance.Visit Website
Prosperity Now targets Native American and rural communities amongst other vulnerable populations, and areas with high unemployment populations. Prosperity Now provides access to free tax preparation services and support to receive the Economic Impact Payments and Earned Income Tax Credit benefits they are eligible for.Visit Website
National Employment Law Project (NELP) provides intensive technical assistance to about 15 state unemployment insurance delivery systems and partners with advocacy groups on state-wide campaigns to expand eligibility. NELP will launch a national outreach effort, mobilizing a network of more than 300 grassroots workers’ centers, to educate people about their unemployment insurance eligibility and encourage them to apply.Visit Website
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