Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haul, is Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.
by Astraea’s Development Team
Last week, we officially launched our blog and wrote about some of the immediate steps Astraea has taken to address the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on our grantee partners around the world.
This week, we want to take a bigger picture approach and share with you Astraea’s COVID-19 Collective Care Response: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haul. We recognize that the health, economic, social, and political repercussions of the pandemic are going to stay with us for a long time to come, and we know that the communities Astraea exists to support – LBTQI, Black, brown, migrant, poor and working class – will continue to be those hardest hit by COVID-19. Astraea’s response aims to bolster our grantee partners now and for the long haul as they care for their communities and confront the pandemic’s impacts across the globe.
In Guayaquil, a city in Ecuador that lacks the public health infrastructure to handle its extensive COVID-19 outbreak, Astraea grantee partner Mujer y Mujer is providing food and money to sex workers, LGBTQI people, survivors of gender-based violence and individuals with limited mobility. In the U.S., grantee Southern Vision Alliance is offering financial support for coronavirus-related organizing in North and South Carolina, with priority given to efforts led by LGBTQ people, workers, youth, rural communities, Black people and people of color (POC), migrants, dis/abled people and families. In Botswana, grantee Rainbow Identity is supporting its constituents with mental health referrals and food packages. These strategies represent a massive collective care response for and by those excluded from mainstream systems. Astraea grantee partners are also continuing their advocacy to prevent further human rights violations, violence and criminalization caused by the pandemic, as well as seizing new opportunities to advance their agendas.
As a queer feminist fund that prioritizes organizations working at the intersections of multiple identities and oppressions, Astraea provides long-term, flexible, and accessible support to some of the most under-resourced communities around the world. Grounded in our Feminist Funding Principles and Healing Justice framework, we have been moved to launch our COVID-19 Collective Care Response.
Many emergency funds have blossomed to address immediate needs, and these are an imperative part of philanthropy’s efforts. However, grassroots organizations need long-term resources to care for their people, transform their strategies to meet the moment, and bolster their resilience for now and the next ten years. Astraea’s role is to do what we have always done, but more deeply.
In order to support our grantee partners to respond to emergent needs now and continue their critical work for years to come, Astraea’s COVID-19 Collective Care Response has two goals:
- Raise at least $1 million from institutional and individual donors to provide increased flexible, unrestricted support for our grantee partners and build on Astraea’s close grantee accompaniment. We are glad to be halfway to that goal already. Our program team is already granting out new funds raised and as we are able to secure additional funds, we will continue to move resources to grantee partners for the short-, medium- and long-term unfolding of this crisis. 75% of the funds will be immediately regranted to our partners, with 25% resourcing Astraea’s ability to partner with movements for the long haul.
- Amplify the importance of resourcing grassroots LBTQI and POC-led organizing, through our philanthropic advocacy and communications (including this blog!) Our communities are too often excluded from mainstream philanthropic and government responses to emergencies like this pandemic. Astraea is fiercely committed to doing all we can to center the grassroots movements who have the solutions we need to emerge from COVID-19 into a more just world.
COVID-19 is both an unprecedented crisis and, in terms of its impacts, a foregone conclusion. Without access to sustainable, flexible resources, grassroots movements are vulnerable: when conditions change and harms increase, requiring infusions of cash and capacity, activists struggle to keep organizations open and their members safe as they try to pivot and respond. This pandemic pulls back the curtain from years of undervaluing the organizing efforts of those most impacted by dire crises.
Astraea’s coronavirus response recognizes that now is the time for philanthropy to make good on our knowledge that long-term, flexible, general operating support and much more of it, is what our communities have long needed. Those who are closest to the problems that need addressing are best positioned to set their own priorities and determine where resources should go.
We deeply appreciate our resource partners who have already joined our COVID-19 Collective Care Response, and we applaud those in philanthropy who are increasing flexible funding to frontline groups. As we see what it is possible for philanthropy to do when confronted with a crisis, we know that this moment is ripe for transformation. Philanthropy must move as much unrestricted funding to the ground as we can, into the hands of those who are now and will be most impacted by COVID-19 for many years to come. Join us.
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