Every person has a role to play in helping our country endure this crisis, and our philanthropic community is always looking for ways to engage more people and provide them opportunities to contribute in ways that are unique and meaningful for them.
That’s why Stand Together Foundation launched #HelptheHelpers—a fundraising campaign to directly support nonprofit leaders on the frontlines providing vital services to communities impacted during the pandemic. Now more than ever, this network of over 165 community organizations has been transforming its programs and services to virtual settings to continue to meet discrete needs as well as the very human and relational needs of their communities.
As Evan Feinberg, director of Stand Together Foundation says, “Mr. Rogers used to say that when he was a boy and saw scary things in the news that his mother would tell him to ‘look for the helpers.’ At Stand Together Foundation, we are bringing people together from all walks of life who want to help the helpers do more.”
Within the first 24 hours of the fundraising effort, over $1 million was raised and matched by Stand Together Foundation. In less than two days, #HelptheHelpers became the most successful charity campaign for COVID-19 relief on the GoFundMe Charity platform.
Stand Together Foundation was so blown away by the quick response that it increased the dollar-for-dollar match by an additional $1.5 million. Within the first weekend of fundraising, the second goal was met (and exceeded) as communities across the country rallied in near-instant support of local leaders. And the campaign is just getting started.
Currently, #HelptheHelpers has raised over $3.2 million, and combined with the $2.5 million match, the grand total of support being deployed to on-the-ground organizations is over $5.7 million.
“The COVID-19 crisis has hit our most vulnerable neighbors the hardest. But the resilience of the American spirit is a powerful force. Across the country, local organizations are emerging as innovative leaders to help our communities weather the storm. And people are showing that their generosity persists even amid uncertain times.”Evan Feinberg, Executive Director, Stand Together Foundation
Prison Entrepreneurship Program is one of the local nonprofits participating in the campaign. Within three hours, the organization raised $76,000 in donations that Stand Together Foundation matched, for a total benefit of $152,000 to its programs. CEO Bryan Kelley weighed in: “The work we and all of the organizations who partner with Stand Together Foundation is too important to push pause during this difficult time. #HelptheHelpers is helping nonprofits likes ours push through a very challenging time. It goes to show the only thing more contagious than this virus is kindness, giving, and love.”
Donations to Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) allow the organization to continue to deliver critical programming to its participants, both inside prison and those released, and to provide critical reentry support to its returning citizens need. Its in-prison team mobilized quickly to ensure that the Spring 2020 class would still be able to complete the program and earn its certificate of Entrepreneurship from Baylor University Hankamer School of Business, despite PEP staff and outside volunteers not being allowed inside the unit. This was all made possible by partnering with the prison warden to help teach the class and facilitate new and innovative ideas for the men in the Spring 2020 class to still compete in a business plan competition. In this time of fear and uncertainty, PEP staff is working hard behind the scenes to bring hope and strength to all of their participants and their families.
And this is just one the many organizations providing essential services to their communities who would benefit from your support. You can make a donation to any of the highly effective nonprofits at HelpTheHelpersToday.org. These organizations are updating their approaches to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are just a few examples: providing food-on-the-go to children who rely on school lunches, offering virtual counseling sessions to those struggling with substance use disorders, distributing phones and hot spots to foster youth so they can stream classes, and hosting financial literacy classes to help people on the edge of the poverty line make every dollar count.
Go to HelpTheHelpersToday.org and give these innovative nonprofits the funds they need to support their efforts to blunt the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. You can choose to direct your funds to the nonprofit that most resonates with you.