In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of organizations came together to push the DC Council to allocate funds for direct cash assistance to workers (including undocumented immigrants, returning residents, and other people working in the informal cash economy) who were left out of federal COVID relief programs. Many of these were Black, Latinx, and immigrant workers who had higher levels of unemployment before the start of the pandemic and were hit particularly hard by the job losses and cratering of the economy that the pandemic unleashed. Without the cash assistance that unemployment benefits and federal stimulus checks provided to many other out-of-work residents, these residents faced unprecedented financial hardship in paying rent, feeding their families, and meeting basic needs.
The work of the Excluded Workers Coalition exemplifies the Meyer Foundation’s aspirations for our Just & Equitable COVID-19 Recovery grantmaking. This grantmaking isn’t about the virus that causes COVID, or medical recovery, or even public health recovery. It is about changing the systems that failed so many Black and brown people over the past two years (and that were failing them long before anyone had heard of the SARS COV-2 virus) to create a post-pandemic region that is racially and economically just.
Last month, Meyer awarded $635,000 in grants to eight organizations (including DC Jobs with Justice, which houses the Excluded Workers Coalition) helping to build a more just Greater Washington community. The work of these organizations spans policy advocacy in housing and education, organizing workers to push for living wages and safe working conditions, and assisting immigrants who are creating worker-owned cooperative businesses. This round of grantmaking also supports the work of two new grantee partners. Collective Action for Safe Spaces organizes survivors of patriarchal violence to transform systems of policing and incarceration. The Parent Leadership Training Institute trains parents of Alexandria Public Schools students to advocate for their children’s educational needs — work that is especially critical given the education disparities that widened during the pandemic.
Recently I was asked, “What will happen to Meyer’s Just & Equitable COVID-19 Recovery work once the pandemic ends?”
Given that our grantee partners are tackling racial and economic injustices that are deeply entrenched in our country’s history, our answer to that question at Meyer is: “The work to change these systems will continue.”
Below, access the list of grants awarded to partners in March toward a Just & Equitable COVID-19 Recovery, as well as our three latest additions to the Fund for Black-led Change (Black Church Food Security Network, Critical Exposure, Out for Justice), which we’ll share more about soon!
|Organization||Amount||Grant Purpose||Geographic Area Served||Website|
|Beloved Community Incubator||75,000||to support general operations||District of Columbia||www.belovedcommunityincubator.org|
|Black Church Food Security Network||150,000||to support general operations of the Black Church Food Security Network in the Greater Washington region||Greater Washington Region||www.BlackChurchFoodSecurity.net|
|Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development||75,000||to support general operations||District of Columbia||www.cnhed.org|
|Collective Action For Safe Spaces||100,000||to support general operations over two years||District of Columbia||www.collectiveactiondc.org|
|Critical Exposure||50,000||to support general operations||District of Columbia||www.criticalexposure.org|
|DC Jobs With Justice||150,000||to support the Excluded Worker Coalition over two years||District of Columbia||www.dcjwj.org|
|DC KinCare Alliance||100,000||to support general operations over two years||District of Columbia||www.dckincare.org|
|Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations||80,000||to support general operations ($50,000) and Maryland Latinos Unidos ($30,000)||Maryland||www.marylandnonprofits.org|
|Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance||30,000||to support general operations||Virginia||www.nvaha.org|
|Out for Justice||150,000||to support general operations||Maryland||www.out4justice.org|
|PLTI of Alexandria||25,000||to support general operations||Virginia||www.plt-alex.org|