“Project 100” Launches to Provide $1,000 Direct Digital Payments to 100,000 Families Hard Hit by COVID Crisis

4/21/2020, 4:00 PM (Source: GlobeNewswire)

NEW YORK, April 21, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Stacey Abrams helped announce the launch of Project 100, an unprecedented cash assistance campaign led by GiveDirectly, Propel, and Stand for Children that will quickly and efficiently provide $1,000 direct cash transfers to 100,000 families in dire need of assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I proudly support GiveDirectly and Propel’s Project 100 as it provides a critical lifeline to Americans living paycheck to paycheck who have been crushed by the COVID pandemic,” said Stacey Abrams. “Families in Georgia, in the South and around the country need the additional support that the current CARES package can't provide. The most economically vulnerable are struggling to survive, unable to afford groceries or medicines for their children, let alone cover utilities, car payments, and rent. Antiquated government technology has delayed assistance for tens of millions of families. We all need to pull together and serve as many families and children as we can reach. I hope anyone with the means to contribute to Project 100 will do so.”

With the support of a broad and diverse network of national leaders, $55 million has already been raised. Over the last several weeks, GiveDirectly and Propel’s COVID-19 Relief Fund pilot program sent cash to nearly 5,000 families across 21 states in some of America’s hardest-hit communities.

“It’s hard enough to make ends meet, but after losing my job at the Salvation Army because of the coronavirus, I was really worried about how I’d be able to take care of my three kids,” said Jennifer Porter of Pontiac, Michigan, who received a payment from GiveDirectly. “The $1,000 I received from GiveDirectly helped me make my rent and car payments at a very critical time so I can’t thank them enough. I’m proud to have started working at a local grocery store because I know we’ll only get through this pandemic by taking care of each other.”

The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation provided the anchor funding to launch Project 100 along with Blue Meridian Partners.

“Luck and opportunity are not evenly distributed in the United States. Millions of families are facing dire needs as a result of this pandemic,” said Stacy Schusterman, Chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and also a Partner of Blue Meridian. “Our family believes that now is a time for those of us with the resources to step up to support people in need, in addition to what the government is doing, and in areas we have not regularly funded. We are proud to support this important initiative and hope others will as well.”

The pilot COVID-19 Relief Fund showed both the profound impact that direct cash assistance can have in this time of crisis, and made clear that a far more ambitious effort was urgently needed.

“Families across America struggling to put food on the table or make rent can’t wait for help and we aren’t waiting either,” said Michael Faye, CEO of GiveDirectly, a globally recognized non-profit that enables donors to send money directly to poor families around the world. “That’s why we’re launching Project 100, a collaborative effort to fund $1,000 in immediate cash assistance to 100,000 families over the next 100 days. With more than a decade of experience empowering people in need through direct cash transfers, we are uniquely positioned to help some of the most vulnerable families across America make ends meet at this critical moment. I want to thank our partners at Propel and Stand for Children for bringing their expertise and commitment to this effort.”

In March, when COVID-19 was beginning its spread across America, Jimmy Chen and Jeff Kaiser, CEO and COO of Propel, saw the immediate economic impacts of this pandemic on SNAP recipients through the company's innovative Fresh EBT app. Fresh EBT helps more than two million verified SNAP food assistance recipients to track their benefits, access valuable discounts and coupons, and find jobs.

At the same time, the GiveDirectly team was investigating paths to scale cash relief for vulnerable families in the U.S. Their teams quickly recognized a partnership could provide this immediate relief enabling cash transfers for millions of SNAP recipients, receiving seed funding from Flourish Ventures and Google.org. Today, that effort has scaled to the launch of Project 100.

“SNAP participants are dealing with an unprecedented level of hardship,” said Jimmy Chen, CEO of Propel. “Through our Fresh EBT app, which is used by millions of SNAP households nationally, we’ve gotten a window into what the pandemic has meant for low-income families. Nearly all low-income workers have lost earnings due to COVID-19, and the risk of completely running out of food and resources is imminent. Stable housing is now at risk for many. Families are dealing with impossible choices, and it’s clear to us that the best way to provide relief is through immediate cash aid at scale."

Stand for Children, a national education advocacy organization with thousands of active parent volunteers in underserved communities, and its CEO Jonah Edelman, has contributed vital fundraising, communications, and operations expertise to bring Project 100 to life, and, to minimize overhead. Stand staff are helping GiveDirectly respond to inquiries from Fresh EBT users selected to receive direct payments.

“It’s heartbreaking to see so many hardworking, resourceful, and loving parents struggling to meet their children’s basic needs,” said Stand for Children CEO Jonah Edelman. “This is an all hands on deck emergency but, due to outdated technology, the government’s response has been tragically slow for far too many families. That’s why Stand for Children is joining together with Propel and GiveDirectly to take their outstanding pilot COVID-19 response effort to scale via Project 100.”

Those wishing to contribute can do so at: https://project100.us.

Click here for a short video featuring several people who have received cash already.

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Additional Background:
GiveDirectly and Propel’s initial pilot program sent $1,000 cash payments to nearly 5,000 households that receive SNAP food assistance in communities that have been hit the hardest by coronavirus. With the launch of Project 100, these numbers are about to grow exponentially.

About GiveDirectly
GiveDirectly is the first — and largest — nonprofit that lets donors send money directly to the world’s poorest. We believe people living in poverty deserve the dignity to choose for themselves how best to improve their lives — cash enables that choice. Founded in 2009, GiveDirectly has delivered over $160 million in cash directly into the hands of over 170,000 households living in poverty. GiveDirectly has been ranked as a top international charity by GiveWell, received a 100% rating on Charity Navigator, and is recognized by FastCompany as one of the top 10 most innovative companies in the non-profit sector. To learn more, visit GiveDirectly.org

About Propel
Propel builds modern, respectful, and effective technology that helps low-income Americans improve their financial lives. They are the creators of Fresh EBT, a free app used by over 2 million Americans across the country to manage their food stamp (SNAP) benefits. A Harvard study showed that using Fresh EBT helped stretch food stamps by an average of two days per month. Propel is a mission-driven for-profit company, with support from investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, Flourish Ventures, Kevin Durant, and Serena Williams. Propel has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and WIRED Magazine and was named a winner of the NYTimes’ Good Tech Award in 2019. To learn more, visit joinpropel.com.

About Stand for Children
Stand for Children is a non-profit education advocacy organization focused on ensuring all students receive a high quality, relevant education, especially those whose boundless potential is overlooked and under-tapped because of their skin color, zip code, first language, or disability. Stand makes an impact by:

  • Partnering with parents to support their children’s education journey and to become strong advocates.
  • Advocating, mainly at the state and local level, for proven policies and funding focused on helping students reach make-or-break milestones.
  • Ensuring the changes we champion for reach classrooms and directly support students.

To learn more, visit stand.org.

Ashley Beale
GiveDirectly
press@givedirectly.org

Jessica Mayorga
Stand for Children
jmayorga@stand.org

Jimmy Chen
Propel
press@joinpropel.com
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