Today, Project 100, which launched three months ago as COVID-19 was rapidly spreading across America, announced it has delivered its 100,000th direct cash transfer to a family struggling to get by. Since launching, Project 100 has grown into the largest and most ambitious private COVID response cash assistance program in the nation, having raised and delivered over $100 million in $1,000 direct cash transfers to over 100,000 families across the United States. Recognizing that need has never been greater as COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise and unemployment rates are at record highs, Project 100 has committed to extending its work and will transition to Project 100+, with an additional $10 million in seed funding from the Schusterman Family Foundation.
Spearheaded by GiveDirectly, Propel, and Stand for Children, Project 100+ will continue to reach communities with the deepest economic impact due to COVID-19 and provide direct, efficient, and immediate relief to families in dire need of assistance. Functionally, Project 100+ will enroll families in need via Propel’s Fresh EBT app which is used by over three million families monthly who receive SNAP food assistance. The cash is then delivered to recipients by GiveDirectly via their choice of payment (direct deposit, mailed check, PayPal, Venmo, or MoneyGram). The recipients of Project 100+ are free to use the funds however they would like -- whether it’s on groceries, rent, laptops for remote learning, and more.
In an internal survey, about two-thirds of Project 100 recipients reported that the cash grant allowed them to keep their home by enabling them to pay rent or a mortgage, and about 40% were able to pay bills or loans to avoid debt.
“I was COVID-19 positive and because of underlying health conditions, I ended up in the hospital. My husband is an essential worker and contracted the virus, and unfortunately brought it home to our family. As a mother of six girls, this has been one of the most frightening and overwhelming times of my life,” said Josette Denis, a Project 100 recipient from the Bronx. “The GiveDirectly funds were transferred to me within hours of completing the survey on my Fresh EBT app. I dropped to my knees –– I felt so blessed. I was able to buy groceries and pay my electricity and phone bills, and I donated $10 back to GiveDirectly to pay it forward.”
“I am so thankful for the help, as I did not have another source of income. I am a single mother to a 1-year-old boy,” said Juvelyn Bobes Godizano, a recipient from San Francisco. “Without food from his daycare and enough food from the food bank, I was struggling to provide for him. I feel very blessed, as I was able to use the funds from GiveDirectly on groceries.”
“I am a hair stylist and had no income after my salon closed because of the pandemic," said Portia Carter, a recipient from Detroit. "I am a mother of four children, including a year-old baby, and was anxiously waiting for my stimulus check to arrive. I am so thankful for GiveDirectly from the bottom of my heart, as I was able to buy diapers and groceries for my family.”
Since April 21st, Project 100 / Project 100+ has demonstrated that direct cash assistance is an efficient, impactful, and rapidly growing form of philanthropy building over 165 studies showing impact. The initiative has drawn widespread support from a diverse coalition of foundations, nonprofits, and prominent voices across America including Stacey Abrams, Andrew Yang, Jack Dorsey, Andra Day, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ariana Grande, Halsey, Patrick Adams, Camilla Luddington, Tony Hale, Chris Meloni, Carrie Preston, Kevin Alejandro, Sundar Pichai, NBA Cares, the Players Coalition and David Sze & Seth Rosenberg from Greylock.
It has also received significant financial support from organizations like Blue Meridian Partners, Flourish Ventures, Google.org, Flu Lab, Wend Collective, Blue Haven Initiative, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and the Schusterman Family Foundation, which is increasing its support by $10 million with today’s Project 100+ announcement, to a total contribution of $30 million.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated long-standing inequities in the U.S. and disproportionately impacted low-income communities, people of color and essential workers who often receive low wages and no health benefits," said Stacy Schusterman, Chair of the Schusterman Family Foundation. "This direct cash assistance provides a small amount of critical support for families in need, so they can afford their rent, pay bills, put food on their tables and more. We hope more people with the resources will invest in Project 100+ as a way to support their neighbors and fellow Americans during this time.”
"We're thrilled to have surpassed the Project 100 goal 2 weeks early,” said Joe Huston, Managing Director of GiveDirectly. “The urgency and speed with which folks are stepping up demonstrates that direct cash giving is resonating, now more than ever. And more importantly, the fact that 97% of recipients surveyed have told us they prefer receiving cash instead of material donations like clothes and food shows us giving cash just makes good sense."
"Propel believes in an American safety net that is modern, respectful, and effective, and Project 100 has been exactly that. We are immensely grateful to our partners at GiveDirectly and Stand for Children, as well as the generous funders who have made this positive impact possible,” said Jimmy Chen, Founder and CEO of Propel. “At the same time, we recognize that the financial hardship faced by SNAP recipients is far from over. 80% of our users are earning less than they did before the crisis or are out of work entirely, the majority only have a few days of cash on hand, and these impacts are disproportionately faced by people of color. That’s why we’re so excited to continue onwards with Project 100+."
“If you look at what $1000 direct cash payments enabled parents to do for their families – avoid eviction, prevent kids from going hungry, make car repairs or pay the car note so they could find work or get better child care, keep the lights on and the water running – the power and logic of direct cash payments is obvious,” said Jonah Edelman, Co-founder and CEO of Stand for Children. “Efficiently providing urgently needed $1000 payments to 100,000 families in less than 100 days is a significant accomplishment, but so much more is needed. That’s why we are continuing the effort and re-issuing our call for the federal government and state governments to do more and do better.”
Those wishing to contribute can do so at: https://project100.us.