Table of Contents
(scroll down to see all entries)
Sunday, March 28, 2021
Recommit to Redistribution - Donate Today
Our calendars and our bodies can attest that a full year has passed since the start of the pandemic. Thankfully, the news of effective vaccines is planting seeds of cautious hope. At the same time, we celebrate the recent rescue package, with its meaningful anti-poverty measures that our movements fought hard for (even as we recognize it leaves out undocumented immigrant workers, and leaves behind minimum wage workers).
Stimulus checks are going out, and the Mass Redistribution Fund is again calling for folks to redistribute their stimulus checks. (Donate/Pledge Here)
If you are experiencing relative abundance during this time, we invite you to pledge your checks, or to commit to a recurring donation. This round won’t reach higher earners to the extent that previous ones did, so we’re also calling for people above the stimulus cutoff to donate in solidarity. If you aren't able to donate, spreading the word is a powerful way to contribute more -- if you know friends, family or colleagues who are in a place of abundance and want to make a difference, please share this email or spread the word with our social media kit here.
If you’ve supported MRF in the past, you should take great pride and inspiration from where we’ve been, where we’re going, and what our community has built so far. MRF was born out of the traditions of mutual aid and solidarity economy and set its sights on channeling resources to the communities hit the hardest by Covid-19, while strengthening their capacity to shape our future towards more just, sustainable ways of living together.
While many institutions failed to meet the needs of those worst impacted by the virus, donors like you got vital resources into the hands (and bellies!) of thousands of individuals and families across the Commonwealth, through locally-led relief efforts that have also built up people’s self-determination at the community level. Recipient groups profiled in our 2020 Storybook:
Delivered groceries & hot meals statewide - and in Worcester, established a youth-led bicycle delivery co-op!
Gave out rental assistance to prevent homelessness - and advocated and won one of the nation’s strongest eviction/foreclosure moratoriums!
Distributed PPE/hygiene supplies (including air purifiers in Springfield, the asthma capital of the United States) - and in East Boston, launched an immigrant- and worker-owned sewing co-op producing masks!
Directed financial assistance to people excluded from government aid due to immigration status - and in Northampton, began a cooperatively-owned farm led by migrant farmworkers on a Community Land Trust!
This work is far from over - and in many ways just beginning - as we enter an unequal recovery from a crisis that turbo-charged economic inequality. We invite you to recommit to the movement by redistributing all or part of your stimulus check to MRF (Pledge or donate here).
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Our 4th and Final Redistribution (for now)
With our 4th disbursement of $137,000 to community-led relief efforts, we have redistributed a total of $738,000 to 27 community-led relief efforts since we launched in May. These dollars have directly impacted families and communities, helping people stay in their homes, feed their families, connect with medical support, and much more. By supporting grassroots relief efforts, our redistribution has also helped ensure that community-led groups continue are able to continue the fight for a just recovery from this pandemic and policies that protect us and prevent future crises like this one.
Following this fourth disbursement, the Mass Redistribution Fund is temporarily pausing our collective fundraising, but COVID's impacts on our communities has not abated, and our grassroots groups have not stopped working to provide critical direct relief. We encourage you to support their ongoing relief and recovery efforts by donating directly to one or more of our 27 grassroots groups. If you are able, consider committing to the long-term success of these community-led efforts by becoming a monthly sustainer or ongoing donor. Please learn more about each group's relief efforts on the Recipients page.
The Mass Redistribution Fund will relaunch our collective fundraising efforts with the passage of a second federal stimulus bill. In the meantime, we continue to convene our Learning Exchanges, offer technical assistance and workshops, and collaborate with our network of recipient groups to support their organizing and relief efforts.
Stay tuned for more updates about the incredible impact of our recipient groups, which we'll be sharing right here before the end of this year!
Friday, October 23, 2020
"It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm" - An MRF Comic Strip!
As a small sign of our gratitude to YOU and the nearly 1,000 donors who have supported community-led COVID-relief efforts across the state, we made a custom comic strip that tells our collective story and illustrates some of the incredible impact of our grassroots partners on the ground, who are working day in and day out to meet community needs and build a better future for us all.
Thank you for your continued solidarity in these difficult times, and for your support of grassroots leadership. We hope you enjoy the comic strip below!
Click here to see the full-sized comic as a downloadable PDF. Thank you to MRF volunteer Sarah Jacqz for illustrating our story!
Monday, September 23, 2020
3rd MRF Learning Exchange Draws On
Wealth of Community Co-op Knowledge
More than half of MRF’s recipient groups gathered for the latest installment of Mass Redistribution Fund’s peer-led Learning Exchange series. As laid out explicitly in MRF’s funding criteria, our goal has been to resource grassroots groups that both provide emergency COVID relief and move their communities into a transformative organizing arc over the longer term. This Learning Exchange provided a template for staff members and volunteer leaders looking ahead at community-controlled economic development as a way out of the current economic crises.
Recipient group Center for Cooperative Development and Solidarity (CCDS) shared their experience starting the Puntada Sewing Cooperative, which provided income for members as well as a product that served their community’s health needs during COVID. Participants heard about CCDS’ worker-owned co-op ecosystem that meets a broad range of community interests, while giving members economic stability in a very unstable period. One Puntada Coop member spoke about her passion for this work and for the solidarity she has experienced from fellow worker-owners, leading her to be a firm believer in the potential of worker-owned cooperatives as an alternative to the typically extractive workplaces and practices of a capitalist economy.
Following the presentation, there was space for animated conversations took place in small groups, and reports back from these showed a great deal of interest in pursuing similar strategies as communities across Massachusetts struggle to recover from the COVID-driven recession, especially acute in historically exploited communities. Some participants had previous experience with cooperatives, including with start-ups at their current organizations, while this was a new area for others, some of whom reached out after the meeting to learn more.
The Center for Economic Democracy (CED), which convenes and provides fiscal sponsorship for the Mass Redistribution Fund, is supporting the development of a ‘solidarity economy’ across Massachusetts and beyond. As the economy falters and resources are stretched thin, particularly in Black, indigenous and immigrant communities which receive a disproportionately small share of emergency government support, this kind of community-controlled economic development may prove to be a lifeline, as well as the basis of a healthy and compassionate economy in coming years.
Monday, September 14, 2020
Another $100k Redistributed to Critical Community-led Relief Efforts
We are excited to announce that the Mass Redistribution Fund will be making our third disbursement to MRF Recipient groups this week -- a formal announcement to come soon. Though we've been quiet on the blog, we've been very active over the past two months, continuing our fundraising efforts and hosting Recipient Learning Exchanges focused on topics nominated by our recipient groups. As conditions and challenges continue to evolve for our groups on the ground, we will continue to adapt our work to support grassroots efforts and strengthen our communities.
In this spirit, we have added a new page of resources, curated specifically for mutual aid organizing and disaster relief efforts -- largely in response to questions raised during our Recipient Learning Exchanges and in correspondences with various groups. You'll find everything from toolkits on digital security and data security to video webinars on cultural and arts organizing with mutual aid centers in Puerto Rico.
Check these and more out on our new Resources for Recipients page. We hope you're staying safe out there.
Friday, August 21, 2020
MRF Launches Learning Exchange Series with Grassroots Groups
In the spirit of the Mass Redistribution Fund’s funding criteria, we are working to support the amazing statewide network of MRF community-led groups in moving from emergency-response and mutual aid efforts to longer-term transformative organizing that builds the skills and power needed for growing real alternatives to the economic systems currently failing us.
This effort has led to a series of peer learning sessions we’re calling “MRF Learning Exchanges,” which will focus on areas that recipient groups have expressed desire to explore more deeply, including space to troubleshoot common problems and exchange best practices.
The first session was mostly an introduction for each of the participating groups to each other, offering an opportunity to connect across communities and issue areas. The second Learning Exchange, on August 21, focused on 2 presentations and break-out group discussions:
1. Mutual Aid Worcester, one of our recipient groups, shared lessons about grounding their work in a long-term organizing arc
2. Our guest, Jorge Diaz of the radical arts collective AgitArte, based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, shared his experiences organizing before and after Hurricane Maria, including creative ways to adapt popular education techniques to our crisis relief work
Judging from the robust discussion, excellent turnout, and desire for further sessions expressed in a follow-up survey, we are optimistic about the power of these Learning Exchanges to support our movements as they meet our communities’ needs and aspirations in these very uncertain times.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Stands with the Uprisings for Racial Justice
The mass uprisings defending Black lives from state violence in the US and around the world are demonstrating the powerful truth that this country’s bloody, racist foundations can and will be challenged, dismantled and transformed through movement. In the midst of this crisis, a new world is being born. We stand with those risking their lives and acting with courage and vision to help birth a new world -- and we invite you to join. As long as there is the need, we will be working for justice, for survival, for dignity, for freedom from fear and for the freedom to thrive.
Many of our grassroots recipient groups are fighting and organizing for Black lives and racial justice. Here are ways you can join:
Watch this moving and informative conversation with City Life and local Black Lives Matter organizers on participating in mobilizations and organizing for racial justice
Follow Sisters Unchained on Instagram, and fund and amplify the work and voices of young women impacted by mass incarceration
Like the Activated Massachusetts African Community on Facebook and support and amplify their work with African communities across the state
Follow Jericho Boston on Facebook and work to free Black liberation prisoners
Like Boston Ujima Project on Facebook and invest dollars in Black and brown businesses and futures.
Monday, June 15, 2020
#MassRedistribution Fund Recipient Groups are Leading Relief Efforts in the Hardest Hit Cities and Counties across the State
The COVID crisis has disproportionately impacted historically marginalized communities across the country, and Massachusetts is no exception.
Looking at the COVID case count released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, we mapped the areas outside of Boston where our recipient groups are working hard to provide food and groceries, financial support, linguistic- and culturally-relevant information, and other forms of critical relief. As you can see below, our grassroots recipients are working in almost all of the cities and counties with the highest concentration of cases across Massachusetts.
We welcome the summer sunshine as we continue our work to support the families, workers and communities impacted by the COVID crisis and economic downturn. Check out the map of recipients below, and join us by donating to resource this amazing network of essential grassroots relief efforts across Massachusetts.
Friday, June 12, 2020
In Round 2, MRF Redistributes Another $260k to 27 Crisis Response Efforts Across the State
Boston, MA - The Mass Redistribution Fund (MRF), a Massachusetts-wide COVID-19 emergency fundraiser launched in early April by a dozen grassroots leaders, is distributing its second round of grants today, redirecting a second disbursement of $260,000+ in donations from over 900 individuals donors and foundations to critical relief efforts across the state.
“The power of the Mass Redistribution Fund is that we’re a strategically organized response to allocate funding to groups that are chartering the future survival of our community by transforming money into immediate aid and political power,” said Monique Nguyen, MRF advisory board member and Executive Director of Matahari Womens Worker Center.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
#MassRedistribution Fund Advisory Board Approves
7 New Recipients from Across the State
The Mass Redistribution Fund volunteer Advisory Board voted to approve seven additional groups organizing and providing relief to African, Asian and Latinx immigrant communities from across the state, as well as working to release political prisoners. These seven groups will be included in the Mass Redistribution Fund's second disbursement this Friday, June 12th.
We welcome the following groups, with gratitude for their ongoing work supporting and fighting for our neighbors on the frontlines of the COVID crisis:
1. Activated Massachusetts African Communities (AMAC)
2. ARISE for Social Justice
3. La Comunidad
4. Egleston Square Main Street
5. Jericho Boston
6. Merrimack Valley Project
7. South Asian Worker Center
We continue to reach out to our partners to identify aligned groups that are working to meet urgent needs in historically marginalized communities across the state. To suggest groups aligned with our funding criteria, please write to MRF coordinators Libbie (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alex (email@example.com). For more information about our 27 recipient groups, visit our Recipients page.