Why was this Fund created?
The Mass Redistribution Fund is a collective effort by community leaders from across Massachusetts who have been organizing for social and economic justice for a long time. Many of us are connected to grassroots-led direct relief efforts through our communities and organizations. The groups we are funding are engaged in immediate relief efforts, from delivering meals to decarceration, and also in long-term community organizing, for policy wins and for systemic changes to our economy so we don’t repeat the mistakes that got us here.
Our communities were facing health and economic crises even before the COVID-19 pandemic. So the need in this moment is massive, and we knew that coming together would create opportunities to collectively define our response within the context of long-standing efforts to build community power. We are continuing to organize with our communities and fight for structural changes to the economy that prioritize people and planet over profit.
How did the Fund get started?
Like many others, we were watching the news to see how the federal stimulus plan would develop. We saw that the government proposals wouldn’t be enough and wouldn’t reach many people, so we were already fundraising to meet urgent needs in our communities and building on the powerful surge of solidarity and mutual aid happening in this moment.
Conversations began between Alex Papali, Nia Evans, and staff at the Center for Economic Democracy (CED) about inviting people who don’t immediately need their government stimulus checks to redirect them to frontline relief efforts. CED, a movement support organization in Boston, agreed to host the fund, and then these folks convened an Advisory Board of community leaders and movement veterans.
What is special about the Mass Redistribution Fund?
This fund currently aggregates 20 urgent relief efforts meeting a wide range of immediate needs, and we’ll be adding more from across Massachusetts.
We have a specific focus on funding grassroots groups that were building power long before the pandemic. These groups organize for policy wins and structural change-- with undocumented workers, people in prison, renters facing eviction, working class communities and communities of color, all facing a disproportionate impact from COVID-19.
Are there other efforts like this?
Another group that is organizing to redirect government stimulus checks is Resource Generation, a national nonprofit that organizes young people with wealth and class privilege. They started a campaign called #ShareMyCheck, which we are part of. They’re not specific about where the money should go, but are also encouraging people to redistribute their government checks to grassroots groups supporting people being hit hardest by the pandemic and economic crisis.
What groups are recipients? How did you decide?
The groups include funds for undocumented workers who have lost their jobs but won’t receive any federal stimulus or unemployment despite paying taxes. This includes Asian communities that are also facing unfounded hostility and racist backlash in this moment. Another group is involved in decarceration efforts to minimize the effect of outbreaks already starting inside prisons. We’re funding a soup kitchen that employs formerly incarcerated people and is cooking hundreds of donated meals a day for take-out. You can see the full
recipient list here, and we’ll continue to add to it.
We’re also in the process of finalizing our
Recipient Criteria and Allocation Guidelines. The key concerns for recipients are that they provide direct relief to those most impacted by this crisis and also be involved in long-term power building to transform systems -- from healthcare and criminal justice to housing and immigration -- so that we can avoid crises like these in the future.
How can I get involved?
Thanks for asking! There's many ways to get involved. If you are able, you can donate directly or pledge to share your check on our
donation page. The federal stimulus checks may not arrive for months, so we ask people to pledge now and we’ll follow up later.
Almost all of the groups we’re supporting are also involved in organizing and policy campaigns, because while mutual aid can help, it’s not enough. So we’re also going to be posting petitions and policy campaigns that you can sign on to after donating or pledging, to amplify our campaigns for the bigger changes we need.
Equally important is spreading the word. You can share information about our Fund and links to the website on social media and in personal networks. The more people we reach, the better we can meet the needs of this moment!