Like many other organizations doing justice work, we took a close look at our annual budget to see how we could reallocate funds into the year’s big unseen need: pandemic relief.
We were able to quickly create a COVID-19 Response Fund to provide support for employee-identified organizations amidst the uncertainty sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. Employees from Beneficial State Foundation and Beneficial State Bank were invited to participate in the employee-led working group which brought requests for community organizations we believed could most benefit from support at this time because of the critical nature of their work. The group met weekly to consider, evaluate, and decide how available funds could best be disbursed.
Along with seeking to bolster an array of fields critical to social and environmental justice, our team prioritized initiatives and organizations that were specifically working to support communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. All microgrant funds were intended to be as unrestricted as possible and ranged from $500 to $5000 in amount per organization or initiative.
Since the start of the pandemic, the COVID-19 Response Fund reallocated nearly $100K in direct support funds designed to serve communities in California, Oregon, Washington, and beyond as they adjust to operate during shelter-in-place orders. Funds were directed in two ways: by the community support working group and by employees throughout Beneficial State Bank and Foundation. The working group donated $78,900 to 42 organizations working in the following sectors which represent Beneficial State Bank’s mission categories:
In addition to the microgrants provided through the working group, over 130 employees participated in the employee-directed giving program channeling $13,100 in donations to 108 non-profits in need across the country.
At Beneficial State, we recognize the multifaceted nature of needs that must be addressed to make progress toward a more just economy. Therefore, it’s critical that as we try to create a lending practice favorable to those working in job development, we also pay attention to locally sourced nutritional food, affordable housing, and other community development efforts. Luckily, there is no shortage of passionate and dedicated leaders who were working incredibly hard before the pandemic, and now are taking on heroic efforts to continue serving the people and planet right now.
As long as these changemakers and the communities they come from are working toward a brighter future, Beneficial State will commit to staying vigilant about the ways we must adapt to accelerate their sustainability and ultimate success.