Our staff met this week to sort out the complexities of our current reality: adapting to children (both young and adult) at home full time, encouraging aging parents to take extra precautions, checking in on neighbors, sourcing and sharing provisions. We're slowing down, taking walks, trying to stay informed without getting overwhelmed. And we talked a lot about the realities we're already hearing about from our neighbors and communities across New England. It's clear significant actions are necessary and from many fronts. We want to share some of our early steps and we're committed to stretch deeply to support the grassroots.
Here's how we're adapting to support communities & take care of our people:
Rapid reponse funding for community-based, volunteer-driven COVID19 responses
The Grassroots Fund is deepening resources to the grassroots in light of how affected our communities will be in the coming months. We've adapted our Seed grant program to be (even more) rapid response to support community efforts addressing the COVID19 pandemic. We are seeting groups setting up systems to respond to food insecurity, projects propping up local economies, reimbursing volunteers for mileage as they support isolated community members, leveraging resources to reschedule events, and getting the tools to organize virtually. Funds are now on the way to these types of projects with a turn-around time of 24-48 hours. As more communities and neighborhoods oragnize and creativity abounds, we expect the deman to rise significantly. Please consider supporting us with a donation so we can expand our rapid response grant pool and donate now.
Flexibility for current grantees
We're providing technical support and flexibility in reevaluating existing grant timelines, work plans and necessary changes in focus. Please ask if you need an extension and know we are very open, transparent and flexible in assessing best use of funds right now.
Our office has transitioned to being fully remote and staff are working regular hours, ready to provide support to existing grantees or applicants. Calls are being transfered and we're checking emails regularly, albeit with some delays as we manage much higher application volume.
Creativity in managing our participatory grantmaking process
We've received over 100 applications in our Spring Grow grant program and over 200 people have signed up as readers! We'll be able to stay on our timeline and center values around equity in grantmaking using virtual review processes and (likely) a virtual grantmaking committee retreat in May.
We know our core mission of co-creating sustainable, health, just, environmentally sustainable communities is perhaps more relevant than ever in this moment. Now is the time to respond. These grassroots groups are meeting urgent needs in the short term, and these same groups are reimagining systems and creating more resilient and just communities in the longer term. We are stretching our budget to meet needs and support emerging networks, and doing what we can to bring philanthropic partners on board as well.
Here is how you can help:
- Become a Grassroots Fund sustaining donor to keep this work going
- If you are already co-leading mutual aid work, please apply for funding. And don't hesitate to reach out, we can assist with the applicaiton submission or advise projcet development.
- Share the COVID19 Rapid Response Funding availibility widely
Now we're all settling into our hyper-local worlds for a while, let's (re-)commit to building resilience in community, especially for those most vulnerable to the many impacts of this pandemic. Thank you for doing your part!