For millions of American families, the COV1D-19 pandemic has dealt a staggering blow. So many are out of work, facing piles of bills and medical expenses, increased financial responsibilities, and so much more. Stand Together and the Family Independence Initiative (FII) this spring partnered to create #GiveTogetherNow, a campaign built to provide relief to individuals experiencing those hardships. Through the generosity of donors, the partnership has raised more than $100 million, providing direct cash grants to nearly 200,000 families across the country.
The partnership was built on a simple idea that proved to be powerful: People know best what they need most. Through #GiveTogetherNow, individuals and families received cash payments of $500 each without outside intervention to tell them how to use the grant. Because of the organic acts of kindness and generosity sprouting up despite crisis, hundreds of families have received direct cash relief that they have used where they need it most: rent, groceries, utilities, even medical expenses.
The #GiveTogetherNow campaign brings together FII’s nearly 20 years of experience in direct cash transfers and a combined network of over 250 nonprofits spanning the country, all with their fingers on the pulse of their communities. These local nonprofits are on the frontlines of their communities. They identified the families affected the most, and deployed additional resources in their communities, bringing people together to find new ways to support each other through the pandemic.
Donors were encouraged to give in two ways. A cash donation, be it $25 or $500, was encouraged. But the campaign also sought to facilitate acts of kindness, with the recognition that people need community and relationships as deeply as cash to overcome this pandemic — for example, something as simple as a phone call to an elderly neighbor who lives alone, or delivering a bag of groceries for someone else. The campaign recognized those small acts of kindness as powerful and necessary contributions to get us through this crisis. Those acts of kindness reaped another reward too: when the campaign was informed about an act of kindness by someone using the #GiveTogetherNow hashtag, that act was matched with a one-time $500 cash payment to a family impacted by COVID-19.
The stories of hardship are endless — but the stories of financial relief and kindness are powerful. “I would like to extend my deepest appreciation for the funds that Give Together Now provided for me,” said Melissa of Dallas, a beneficiary of the fund. “I am going to use this money to pay my rent and keep my business open. Your generosity has not only lightened a load, it gives me faith to keep pushing. I will find a way.”
Another recipient in Houston who remained anonymous, said: “I need iron infusions and had been borrowing money to pay for my treatments. With the relief funds I received, I was finally able to pay for my treatment and repay some of what I owe. I am so thankful beyond what words can explain.”
The official #GiveTogetherNow campaign is ending this month, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get involved. If you’re inspired by this campaign, please donate directly to FII here, and keep up with Stand Together’s work to alleviate poverty, break down barriers, and lift everyone up – because together, we rise.
Photo Credit: Studio Firma
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