COVID-19 has brought a new light to the structural inequities in the United States in how marginalized communities including immigrants, refugees, and other people of color are more profoundly impacted by crises and harmful policies. In the midst of this downturn, RTF has remained focused on our mission and values, adjusting to engaging online programming, continuing dedicated support to our core grantees, and shifting our convening fund and rapid response grantmaking to meet the moment. A few of the key pivots we have made include increasing grant amounts and moving to general operating support to allow our grantee organizations more flexibility in their work. Because our strategy has always been to support the most impacted communities, we have not had to make significant changes but are simply building upon our typical grantmaking efforts. We strive to continue building power among MASA communities, strengthening the social justice non-profit sector that has been growing in our networks, and using this moment as a turning point towards systemic and institutional progressive change.
Arab American Association of New York: RTF provided $15,000 to support AAANY’s response to the immediate and urgent needs of their clients experiencing heightened domestic violence in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. AAANY is seeing increased urgency to support community members who need safe shelter right now. AAANY seeks to offer these clients programming and support so that they may be stable, healthy, and safe in this precarious time, in addition to their continued advocacy for all MASA communities in the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn area.
Coalition for Civil Freedoms: RTF provided $8,000 to support the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (CCF)’s Coronavirus Prisoner Release Project. Specifically, RTF supported their advocacy for approximately 30 inmates, all from MASA backgrounds, who are particularly vulnerable to the virus and could be eligible for compassionate release.
The Family and Youth Institute: RTF provided $15,000 to support the Family and Youth Institute’s (FYI) development of a rapid response toolkit and field resources to help the MASA field respond to mental health challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. For example, FYI is developing a “Wellbeing in the Time of Coronavirus” toolkit, and a “Ramadan Coronavirus Toolkit,” as well as distributing mental health and wellness-centered resources to the MASA field including articles and webinars.