During this crisis, there is a desire to get cash into as many hands as possible in order to help individuals and families with immediate expenses such as rent, utilities, food, healthcare, and transportation. Very often, this cash helps the individual or family through a short-term challenge and keeps them from becoming homeless or hungry and upending their life.
In the past five weeks, hundreds of emergency funds have been established in cities across the country to meet these needs.
What are the benefits and the disadvantages of giving cash to individuals? How do individuals in need apply for these funds? How does a donor know that real needs are being met? How do you vet the nonprofit organizations that are involved in making the decisions about who gets the money?
Kara Klein is executive director of Gerstner Philanthropies, whose Helping Hands initiative helps people at a critical moment with the hope that this will make a difference in someone’s life with lasting impact. Their grants have gone to nonprofit organizations to help families pay rent in three areas where they fund—New York City, Boston and Florida.
Evan Feinberg is executive director of the Stand Together Foundation, and their Give Together Now initiative has already garnered over $26 million in donations to support families in need. Working in conjunction with the Family Independence Initiative and a national network of nonprofits, they are identifying specific needs and providing a $500 grant per family.
Jesus Gerena is the CEO of the Family Independence Initiative (FII) and was previously the Executive Director of FII in Boston where they grew their services to serve 800 families. FII trusts and invests directly in low-income families so they can work individually and collectively to achieve prosperity. Through their technology platform they are connecting with nonprofits in every state who know their local communities and their needs.