What we are doing to act now, partner with others, and prepare for rebuilding
Dear friends and colleagues,
We imagine that all of you, like us, are reeling from the devasting effects of COVID-19 on the health and wellbeing of our loved ones. No one has been untouched by this crisis, and our hearts go out to all suffering personal losses in your families, organizations, and communities.
At Blue Meridian Partners, we are acutely aware that this virus is causing immense, disproportionate harm to the most vulnerable among us. COVID-19 shines a harsh light on our country’s unacceptable racial, social, and economic inequities and their long-term effects.
Like many of you, we are asking ourselves: How can we help? Where can we add the most value? Where can we invest additional capital? The reality is that we are humbled by our own limitations in the face of such monumental challenges. As long-term investors concentrating on multi-year strategies to solve systemic problems, we know there is a tremendous challenge ahead and we will direct all of our resources toward the equitable recovery and rebuilding of our communities.
But, more immediately, the people we seek to lift up are suddenly depending on a frayed safety net—and we take seriously our obligation to do more.
Blue Meridian’s immediate response is guided by three mantras: act now, partner with others, and trust social sector leaders and community residents to know what they need most.
New emergency resources for vulnerable communities
We are deploying an incremental $100 million for COVID-19 emergency response* to help low-income people who are at the greatest risk of falling through the cracks. We are listening to leaders and residents of impacted communities who see that vital assistance is still weeks or months away, and individuals and families need access now to financial resources to make decisions and meet their immediate needs.
The emergency response funds will flow to communities in two ways. First, we will support community-based organizations to provide direct cash assistance to especially vulnerable individuals and families. Our first investments include the Family Independence Initiative, GiveDirectly, National Domestic Workers Alliance, One Fair Wage, and The Workers Lab. Collectively, these organizations are providing cash payments to tens of thousands of people who need financial assistance immediately but cannot access public benefits quickly enough.
Second, we will fund efforts to help millions more low-income people access billions of dollars in public aid for which they are eligible—from SNAP and federal stimulus aid to nutrition grants for women, infants, and children. As we invest in more organizations and strategies in the coming weeks, we will share more with you, and we welcome other investors to join us in this effort.
Supporting our investees to weather this crisis
In our ongoing work, the organizations that Blue Meridian supports are on the frontlines of the social sector, steadfastly serving vulnerable communities that stand to suffer most from COVID-19 and its long-term impacts. We draw inspiration from their work and the ways in which they are innovating to deliver on their missions amid severe challenges.
Where opportunities exist, we are also backing them in accelerating their work to meet the growing need this pandemic has engendered. And once these organizations and their leaders are ready to look toward the future, we will help them pivot to focus on recovery and resilience.
As we cope with this crisis, we are humbled by the thousands of organizations doing crucial work locally and nationwide. In addition to their collective work through Blue Meridian, our General and Impact Partners are giving individually to support and bring relief to the communities they live in and care deeply about.
Adapting to our new reality
Beyond the immediate crisis, the world we and our investees inhabit will look drastically different than it did before. As with past crises, marginalized communities are suffering disproportionately today due to historic and systemic inequities. This pandemic stands to exacerbate economic disparities for Black and Latinx communities: this week alone, we saw the staggering statistic that in several states Black Americans represent 40 percent or more of COVID-19 deaths to date.
In past crises, the recovery reached marginalized communities last and least. Our work must adapt to this reality. The personal, social, and economic devastation caused by COVID-19 highlights the need for bold, scalable solutions to our most intractable problems—solutions that confront the systemic barriers holding problems in place and trapping people in poverty. We are more committed than ever to supporting and investing in the people and organizations that will make the future different.
No one can tackle the challenges ahead alone. To recover from COVID-19, we must work together. We eagerly welcome opportunities to work side by side with other philanthropists in this recovery—to deliver necessary assistance, help the people most impacted rebuild, and keep imagining new and better ways to serve.
On behalf of all of Blue Meridian’s Partners, we wish you and your loved ones health, healing, and hope,
CEO, Blue Meridian Partners
Chair, Blue Meridian Partners
Ballmer Group, Philanthropy; The David Tepper Charitable Foundation; The Druckenmiller Foundation; The Duke Endowment; The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation; George Kaiser Family Foundation; The JPB Foundation; MacKenzie Bezos; The Samberg Family Foundation; The Sergey Brin Family Foundation
Arrow Impact; Aviv Foundation; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation; Eugene and Marilyn Stein Family Foundation; The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation
*Funding for Blue Meridian’s COVID-19 emergency response was contributed by all its General Partners and Impact Partners, with additional support from 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.