When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Tulsa community, Sandra was not prepared to have her hours at work cut, which led to a reduction in her family’s income. Like so many others, she was already living paycheck to paycheck and sustaining a savings was beyond her reach. Sandra’s family was in need of immediate assistance, so her F&CS Family Support Specialist (FSS) jumped into gear to help, delivering a food box to her home and helping connect her with community resources for food, diapers and activities for her children to do while at home. Because of Sandra’s need, she qualified for financial assistance through a temporary #GiveTogetherNow initiative, launched by the Stand Together Foundation and the Family Independence Initiative (FII).
#GiveTogetherNow was a national rapid-response effort to get money to families most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the support of more than 250 nonprofit and community groups across the country, the initiative is supported by hundreds of philanthropic leaders, including the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF). To date, the campaign has generated more than $38.7 million dollars for families across the nation.
In Tulsa, F&CS was able to use the funds to help 1,000 families with urgent financial needs.
Melissa Robinson, F&CS Early Childhood program manager said, “We have been able to help so many families struggling to meet basic needs during COVID-19. Through the generous support of FII, this opportunity has given hope where hope was dim. It has brought smiles, and excitement to families that are now able to buy food, pay rent, and take care of some medical expenses. Words cannot express my gratitude and the staff’s gratitude for such a caring and heartfelt gift for some of the families in the Early Childhood Program. FII has truly made a big impact in the lives of some of the families we serve.”
Having this financial help allowed Sandra to stay on top of her bills and other expenses her family incurred while having to moving in the middle of the pandemic. Her family was able to have a successful move while not incurring any debt. Sandra is now back at work and is optimistic that her finances will soon stabilize. Sandra’s story could be much different if she did not reach out to her FSS during her time of need. Her willingness to advocate for herself allowed her and her family to become connected with several community resources including the invaluable financial assistance from the #GiveTogetherNow campaign.
FII Chief Executive Officer Jesús Gerena said, “True community is about coming together and being there for your friends, family and neighbors, and we’re seeing that now perhaps more than ever before. In that same spirit, we are thrilled to partner with such a diverse group of individuals and organizations to invest in families across the country during this unprecedented time.”
About the George Kaiser Family Foundation: The George Kaiser Family Foundation’s (GKFF) mission of providing every child with an equal opportunity is reflected throughout the work that we do in our community. GKFF supports early childhood education initiatives; works to bridge existing health care and service gaps ensuring that families receive the basic services they need to raise healthy and thriving children; and invests in a culturally vibrant and economically robust Tulsa to ensure a thriving community that affords opportunities for all of its citizens to enjoy a high quality of life. Learn more at gkff.org.
About Stand Together: Stand Together is a philanthropic community founded by Charles Koch to empower people dedicated to helping others improve their lives. Our philanthropic community tackles some of the biggest challenges of our times, including reforming the nation’s criminal justice system, strengthening K-12 education, helping neighbors beat poverty and addiction, empowering everyone to find fulfilling work, and more. We can all make a greater difference by uniting together than by acting on our own. For more information visit, www.StandTogether.org.
About Family Independence Initiative: Family Independence Initiative (FII) trusts and invests directly in people living with low incomes so they can work individually and collectively to achieve prosperity. Our innovative technology platform, UpTogether, is designed for the exchange of financial and social capital. UpTogether allows people living in poverty to access unrestricted cash transfers and connect with other families to help one another accomplish their financial and personal goals. Learn more at fii.org.