We’re responding to this crisis by doing what we’ve done for a decade: delivering cash. Each household will receive $1k, and we expect the main constraint on how many we can reach will be how much we can raise.
We’re beginning by targeting vulnerable households enrolled in SNAP, living in the areas hardest hit by COVID-19.
In partnership with Propel, we’re able to identify vulnerable households on SNAP. To date, we’ve paid 1,204 households across 17 U.S. states. Donations to our general U.S. response fund are distributed across the United States to areas with the greatest need; you can also donate to city-specific funds if you’d like to give to a particular geographic region. We currently have funds set up for the Bay Area, Las Vegas, New York City, and Seattle.
As we scale the program, we’re focusing on targeting other populations in need who could be missed or underserved by other programs. We’ll update payment size and structure as we learn more about the need.
We’re doing this because we believe …
1. Cash is the right instrument.
You won’t be surprised to hear that from us, but to recap a decade of evidence and experience: it is fast, efficient, effective, and can have multiplier effects on the economy.
2. The government response will likely not be enough.
We’re glad that the government is considering direct cash payments, but even if it does as we hope, we expect there will be delays and not enough money fast enough to the most vulnerable.
3. We can execute well.
We’ve been giving cash since 2008, and have delivered over $150M to poor people in situations as diverse as Liberia, DRC during Ebola, urban Nairobi, and Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. When we’ve responded selectively to US crises in the past, we’ve seen positive results both in terms of immediate impact and longer-term interest in giving internationally.