ARLINGTON, Va., March 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Stand Together, the philanthropic community founded by Charles Koch, and Family Independence Initiative (FII) announced today the launch of a rapid-response effort to get cash directly to individuals and families struggling as a result of the coronavirus and ensuing economic crisis.
#GiveTogetherNow offers families access to a direct and immediate cash transfer to help offset financial burdens caused by the measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. The online platform allows anyone to make a contribution to families who will receive cash deposits to their bank accounts. Stand Together Foundation, part of the Stand Together community, is pledging $5 million to #GiveTogetherNow to jumpstart the emergency fund for families.
"The economic hardship that families are enduring as a result of the response to the coronavirus crisis is growing by the day," said Brian Hooks, CEO of Stand Together. "People need help now, and a crisis of this magnitude will require every one of us to do our part to help those who have been hit the hardest. We're encouraged to see communities coming together to take action to help each other weather this storm. And we're grateful to partner with Family Independence Initiative, whose pioneering approach recognizes the dignity and ingenuity of people who have fallen on hard times. For people all across the country who are looking for a way to help their neighbors in need, #GiveTogetherNow is a fast and meaningful way to make a difference."
Hooks continued, "#GiveTogetherNow will ensure people who need assistance the most will get the support they need, and they will get it quickly. It's a strong example of people coming together to help each other."
Starting today, people can donate directly to individuals and families in need by visiting GiveTogetherNow.org.
"Communities have the ability to bring people together to transform, innovate, and rise. The coronavirus pandemic is both a public health crisis and a poignant reminder that the American people are all in this together," said Evan Feinberg, executive director of Stand Together Foundation. "As the urgency for action grows, people are working together to address the immediate needs of their neighbors, and this platform will make that outreach simple, immediate and direct."
Feinberg continued, "Too often, the response to a crisis is to treat people as broken and deficient. But the coronavirus didn't break people; the world broke around them. What they need is the financial and social capital to weather the storm and come out stronger in the end."
Stand Together Foundation partners with more than 165 of the nation's top-performing community organizations, including FII, working to combat poverty in cities around the country. These organizations are mobilizing and stepping up to offer bottom-up solutions to help vulnerable populations in the wake of the current crisis. The groups closest to those who are struggling know who in their communities has the most urgent needs, and now they can identify individuals and families across the country to receive direct funds through the #GiveTogetherNow platform.
"In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, something beautiful is happening across our country. People of all different backgrounds, beliefs, and situations are coming together, doing what they can to help and support those around them," said Jesús Gerena, CEO of Family Independence Initiative. "The social fabric of our country doesn't strain during challenges – it's woven tighter. What people need now, more than ever, to weather this new challenge is the financial and social capital to come out stronger in the end."
For nearly 20 years, FII has provided direct cash investments along with a supportive community to help low-income families and individuals meet their needs and reach their goals. For the past three years, Stand Together Foundation has partnered with FII as part of Stand Together Foundation's Catalyst training and mentorship program designed to support, strengthen and scale community solutions to persistent poverty, and accelerate momentum and effectiveness. FII's work is more critical than ever as economists are now predicting record-high new unemployment claims, and nearly one-in-five U.S. households say they have already experienced a job loss or reduction in working hours because of the pandemic.
Why Cash? According to a Federal Reserve study, nearly 40 percent of Americans do not have $400 saved for an emergency expense and many Americans live paycheck to paycheck. That means while trying to protect their families from a pandemic, they also have to worry about how they are going to pay rent/mortgage, feed their children, and keep the lights on. Unconditional and unrestricted cash transfers are the best way to help lift this burden. Research demonstrates that cash transfers protect people's standards of living during crises. Amid natural disasters, people receiving cash are quicker to recover their assets than those who don't. People can donate directly to individuals and families in need by visiting GiveTogetherNow.org.
About Stand Together: Stand Together empowers people dedicated to helping others improve their lives. Our philanthropic community tackles some of the biggest challenges of our times, including reforming the nation's criminal justice system, strengthening K-12 education, helping neighbors beat poverty and addiction, empowering everyone to find fulfilling work, and more. We can all make a greater difference by uniting together than by acting on our own. For more information visit, www.StandTogether.org.
About Family Independence Initiative: Family Independence Initiative (FII) trusts and invests directly in people living with low incomes so they can work individually and collectively to achieve prosperity. Our innovative technology platform, UpTogether, is designed for the exchange of financial and social capital. UpTogether allows people living in poverty to access unrestricted cash transfers and connect with other families to help one another accomplish their financial and personal goals. Learn more at fii.org.
About Stand Together Foundation: Stand Together Foundation is breaking the cycle of poverty by supporting the creative solutions of individuals and communities around the country. Our goal is to help effective, high-performing social entrepreneurs maximize impact—to help them help more—by bringing a business-like approach to the social sector. The result is a vetted Catalyst Network of some of the most highly effective and top-performing non-profits in the U.S. that are helping people in poverty transform their lives. Learn more at StandTogetherFoundation.org.
For more information or to schedule an interview, please send an email to [email protected].