Project 100, as the campaign is called, will scale GiveDirectly and Propel's COVID-19 Relief Fund pilot program, which has directed cash to nearly 5,000 families in some of the hardest-hit communities in twenty-one states over the last several weeks. Launched with anchor funding from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and Blue Meridian Partners, the project had raised $55 million as of Tuesday to fund cash assistance for 52,300 families. Other donors to the effort include the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Google.org, Double Up Drive, impact investment firm Flourish, The Late Show, and NBA Cares, as well as Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia; musician Ariana Grande; actress Camilla Luddington; and former Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Andrew Yang.
Project 100 initially will target families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in areas of the country impacted by the virus, but will work to reach other economically vulnerable populations in the U.S. and abroad, including individuals with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, the recently unemployed, and the elderly.
"SNAP participants are dealing with an unprecedented level of hardship," said Propel CEO Jimmy Chen. "Through our Fresh EBT app, which is used by millions of SNAP households nationally, we've gotten a window into what the pandemic has meant for low-income families. Nearly all low-income workers have lost earnings due to COVID-19, and the risk of completely running out of food and resources is imminent. Stable housing is now at risk for many. Families are dealing with impossible choices, and it's clear to us that the best way to provide relief is through immediate cash aid at scale."
"I proudly support GiveDirectly and Propel's Project 100 as it provides a critical lifeline to Americans living paycheck to paycheck who have been crushed by the COVID pandemic," said Abrams. "Families in Georgia, in the South, and around the country need the additional support that the current CARES package can't provide. The most economically vulnerable are struggling to survive, unable to afford groceries or medicines for their children, let alone cover utilities, car payments, and rent. Antiquated government technology has delayed assistance for tens of millions of families. We all need to pull together and serve as many families and children as we can reach. I hope anyone with the means to contribute to Project 100 will do so."
(Photo credit: Stand for Children)