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Everyday the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are becoming more severe. Just yesterday here in Washington state the governor announced a “stay at home” order, following other states like Oregon in mandating the closure of non-essential businesses and instructing people to stay put in order to stem the spread of the virus.

Since the beginning of this crisis SJF has encouraged our members to practice community care while supporting a culture of collective responsibility and accountability to one another. The impacts of this pandemic will become even more apparent in the coming days and weeks, especially for the most vulnerable in our communities. That’s why we must step up our solidarity now. For SJF, that means raising money, and moving money.

Just over a week ago SJF announced our Covid-19 Crisis Fund; within days we had received over 50 requests from throughout the Northwest region – groups creating mobile food banks, a special resource fund for the families of farmworkers, doing advocacy for statewide eviction suspension, or ensuring that health and safety materials are made available to immigrant communities (among many other things). We saw immediately how intense the need is, and made nearly 30 emergency grants in the first week.

Of course, the demand is still huge and getting bigger. Here are some things you can do right now to support those who are struggling during this dramatic and uncertain time:

  • Contribute to emergency funds like SJF’s Covid-19 Crisis Fund and encourage others to chip in.
  • Keep giving directly to grassroots community organizations. If you have a giving plan that includes mostly fall or year-end gifts then you should bump up the timeline and make those donations now. And consider increasing the amounts if you can.
  • Make a contribution towards our Economic Justice Grants. These 2 year $30,000 grants will provide longer term support to groups who have been organizing towards building economically just communities and leading strategies of mutual aid and community care.
  • For those with significant wealth invested in the stock market you should resist the tendency that many have during a market downturn to pull back on your commitments. Now is the time to increase your giving. Give from liquid assets or an existing donor-advised fund rather than donating stock.
  • Be a donor organizer. Encourage friends and family who have the capacity to give more during this time to step up. Share lists of ways to donate and support mutual aid, information about the SJF crisis fund, and think about other ways to directly support neighbors and community members in need.

Social Justice Fund NW is evaluating our work during this time and figuring out ways — through video technology and other tools — to engage our community. Ongoing Giving Projects will continue, and certain events and workshops will become virtual. We look forward to forging connections with our members during this challenging period.

We grateful to be part of this struggle with you.