Emily Dickinson lived her whole life alone in one room, and I found her poems coming to me a lot this year. Although his separation was voluntary, I have no doubt it was easy. His room was overlooking the tombs, and many of his poems focused on death.
As the winter of 2020 approached, I may have expected one of these poems to continue floating in the mind, but instead it was written in hope: “‘Hope’ is a feathered thing,” first, “/ That perches in the soul / And sings a song without words / — not at all — ”
Perhaps it was an unspeakable question he finally asked in one of his rooms: “I have heard it in the cold world / And in the strange sea / / — I have never been — in Extremity / He asked the crumbs for me.”
So what does hope cost?
The epidemic has been a devastating blow to the lives of Americans who are already struggling. Economic losses and health outcomes have likewise been devastating for women, people of color, and even the poor. Meanwhile, it has greatly increased the fortune of billions.
It would be easy for all the people who have drawn long strands of people in this problem to wrap up at home to feel the mixing and gratitude, and then wait for it to end — but that is not the case. The proliferation of public refrigerators, COVID grants, Venmo’s unused gifts, personal anti-debt campaigns, and mutual aid programs have been rapid and constructive. In March, a 19-year-old girl in Chicago sent a group note to her friends suggesting that they buy some for the local people who had lost their jobs.
You submitted two Google forms — one for people in need and one for people in need — and two days later they collected $ 7,000. “We are really happy,” he said.
After my post in July, I asked the advisory team to help me accelerate my commitment to 2020 by providing immediate support to people facing the economic consequences of the disaster. They have taken a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership groups and outcomes, with a particular focus on those working in communities facing high food insecurity, high levels of racial inequality, high levels of local poverty, and low access to capital capital.
The result over the past four months has been $ 4,158,500,000 donations to 384 organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. Others fill basic needs: food banks, emergency services, and support services for those most at risk. Others face structured inequalities that have been exacerbated by the crisis: debt relief, job training, debt services and resources for disadvantaged communities, education for the disadvantaged and marginalized, civil rights groups, and legal aid funds that have taken away institutional discrimination.
To select these 384, the team sought suggestions and ideas from hundreds of field experts, sponsors, and nonprofit leaders and volunteers with years of experience. We have used this database of shared information that includes hundreds of emails and phone conversations, as well as thousands of pages of data analysis on community needs, program outcomes, and each nonprofit’s ability to absorb and manage finances. We targeted 6,490 organizations, and conducted a comprehensive study of 822.
We have set 438 of these so far due to insufficient evidence of impact, unsubstantiated management teams, or to allow further investigation into certain issues such as the management of community members or employees. We will not always learn about anxiety within the organization, but if we do, we will take more time to explore. We will never eliminate all risk by our analysis, but we will eliminate many. Then we can select organizations to help — and get out of their way.
We do this research and work hard not only to identify organizations with the greatest potential for impact, but also to open the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts that are offered with complete confidence and no attachments. Because our research is data-driven and complex, our donation process can be human and flexible.
Not only are unprofitable profits funded indefinitely, and they are consistently diverted from their work by raising funds, and by the heavy reporting requirements that sponsors often place on them. These 384 carefully selected groups dedicate their lives to helping others, working and dedicating themselves and serving real people face-to-face in beds and tables, in prisons and in courts and classrooms, on the streets and in wards of hospitals and in telecommunications of all kinds and sizes, day by day.
They help by providing valuable services, and with deep emotional support each time a person is seen, respected, and trusted by another person. This type of encouragement has a special power when it comes from a stranger, and it works its magic for everyone.
We shared our decision with program leaders for the first time over the phone, and we welcomed them to spend money on anything they believe works best for their efforts. They have been told that all commitments will be paid in advance and left unrestricted to give them maximum flexibility. Responses to callers often include personal matters and tears.
These were veteran nonprofit veterans from all backgrounds and backgrounds, talking to us from cars and living quarters in the COVID-filled apartments and apartments across the country — a retired army general, a national college president recalling his first teaching career in a position, a founder of a loan fund a moment between his washer and a dryer where he had presented his step years ago. The news and their tears always made me and my colleagues cry.