Early this month the racial justice organization Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation launched the $3 million Survival Fund, which will provide microgrants to Black individuals and communities who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
The Associated Press reports that organization plans to give out 3,000 microgrants of $1,000 each to “anyone who identifies as Black, with special consideration for people who are transgender, single caregivers, or formerly incarcerated.” If approved, the organization will deposit the money directly into the recipient’s bank account or will transfer the funds to a pre-paid debit card. As of Thursday, 300 grant recipients had been approved.
“This came from a collective conversation with BLM leadership that Black folks are being hurt the most financially during the pandemic,” Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors told The Associated Press. “I believe that when you have resources, to hoard them is a disservice to the people who deserve them,” she said.
The organization reports that it raised $90 million last year, the majority of that in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and the subsequent massive protests against police brutality and the ongoing police murders of Black people in the U.S.
According to the AP, “The fund is being administered through UpTogether, a project of the Family Independence Initiative, which works to disrupt the cycle of poverty through direct investment to low-income families and budding entrepreneurs.”
The fund comes as the nation awaits a third COVID relief package that has sluggishly made its way through Congress since President Biden’s inauguration. The package includes $1,400 individual stimulus payments, as well as extended unemployment benefits, among other economic relief measures. The bill is expected to pass the House this week before moving onto the narrowly controlled Democratic Senate.
One recipient, Kusema Thomas, said of the $1,000 grant from BLM, “It reinforces some of the things that have just been natural to us as a community. It’s a point of pride, that’s connected to our history of being able to support each other. It’s how we show love.”
Since the pandemic began the number of mutual aid groups nationwide has expanded rapidly. “According to the nonprofit Town Hall Project, which created the Mutual Aid Hub to track various collective efforts last March, the number of mutual aid groups in the U.S. grew from 50 to more than 800 in 48 states by last May,” per the AP.