Beyond being a grassroots social justice movement, Black Lives Matter is also building the infrastructure to leave a lasting socio-economic impact on its community – when the government does not. In this vein, the Black Lives Matter foundation just launched a survival fund to help people struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to Black Lives Matter's official website, the foundation, which emerged out of the Black Lives Matter movement nearly eight years ago, has dedicated a $3 million fund to Covid-relief. It plans to give up to 3,000 microgrants of $1,000 each to people impacted by the pandemic.
"Since the beginning of this pandemic, the government has not done enough to support Black people, leaving too many of us in survival mode," Black Lives Matter wrote. "Before COVID-19, there was already a racial-wealth gap, and this pandemic has exacerbated it." The statement continues that "[BLM] designed the BLM Survival Fund to support Black people and their families facing economic hardship during the pandemic by giving them cash as a means of support to keep them in their homes, keep food on the table, and ultimately provide a little breathing room in their lives."
Black people have been among the hardest hit by Covid-19 and have borne the brunt of the financial impact of the pandemic. Surveys have revealed how the virus has exacerbated the consequences of systemic racism for Black people and unsurprisingly federal spending has done little to dent these problems, even on a short-term basis.
The BLM Survival Fund aims to step in where the government has fallen short and comes as the nation awaits Congress to enact a nearly $2 trillion relief package that includes $1,400 direct stimulus payments promised by President Joe Biden.
Black Lives Matter Survival Fund has so far already provided aid to the families of people killed by police or who died while incarcerated, grassroots community organizers, people who identify as transgender, single parents, and formerly incarcerated individuals – no strings attached. The group has come under criticism from branches of the Black Lives Matter movement – whether officially affiliated or not – for a lack of financial transparency, but the foundation recently gave the LA Times information about how it spends its funds. The foundation has also recently gained tax nonprofit status meaning it will now have to submit publically-available forms detailing things like organizational structure, compensation, and expenses.
You can apply to the Black Lives Matter Survival Fund here.