Donation FAQs: The REACH Relief Fund

  1. The goal of this effort is to get money directly to families who are most vulnerable during this crisis so that they have the freedom and agency to provide for the safety of their children and themselves. This differs from other worthwhile efforts that are creating infrastructure and programs.
  2. This effort leverages the existing relationships that The Oakland REACH and potential future partner organizations have with low-income families in Oakland. These relationships will allow us to reach these families, assess their needs and get resources directly to them. 
  3. This is an unprecedented and fluid situation. We acknowledge that a big part of being a good steward of finance is being very clear about how donations will be used. This document will serve to provide the maximum amount of clarity about structures and processes for this fundraising and distribution effort. At the same time, please bear in mind that we will need to be adaptable to a rapidly changing situation to make sure that it does not have a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable families in our communities.

Where does my donation go?
All donations go to The Oakland REACH, an existing grant making 501c3 public charity 

(EIN #83-1289590) in Oakland, so all donations are tax-deductible. The Oakland REACH will manage the distribution of funds directly to impacted families.The Oakland REACH will also manage all oversight, documentation and accountability for funds, and publish an online report about the impact of these donations. No part of your donation will be used for administrative costs. The Oakland REACH and potential future partner organizations are donating our existing time and capacity for this effort. 

Which families are these funds intended for?
This fund is intended to provide financial support to Oakland’s most vulnerable families and get that support to families expeditiously. Our target families include: 

  1. Families who have lost income because of COVID-19 related disruption (e.g. hourly workers in the service industry); 
  2. Families who are already considered “low-income” as defined by their children qualifying for free or reduced school lunch;  
  3. Families who are housing insecure or at risk of becoming so; and/or
  4. Undocumented and mixed status families who may not qualify for all government programs or who are unlikely to access programs. 

What sorts of expenses will the fund cover for families?
The Oakland REACH has surveyed over 100+ families in the first week of school closures due to COVID-19. The survey results tell us overall that in these unprecedented times, lower income families need to have the ability and some money to meet their families’ basic needs.

Families will need financial assistance for the following essential needs in the coming weeks and months:

  • Food
  • Rent 
  • Utilities
  • Medicine
  • Cleaning and sanitizing supplies
  • Gas and transportation to work 
  • Homeschool or child care supplies and resources

As part of the outreach process, The Oakland REACH and potential future partner organizations will be informing families about other community and government resources (e.g. food bank, unemployment insurance, legal & financial assistance for renters) to help recipients use this cash assistance for needs that are not available via other programs.

We also are leading outreach to donors to raise matching funds, and have already secured a first match up to $10,000. 

How Much Money are Families Eligible to Apply for?
Financial assistance up to $550 per household can be requested. Actual awards will depend on the amount of funds donated and the number of families who request assistance. If feasible, we would offer families the opportunity to reapply for funds after two weeks. We will also inform families of tax implications for receiving multiple assistance awards in the same calendar year. 

What will be the approval process/timeline for getting funds to families?
We anticipate that the time from application submission to release of funds will be about 5-7 business days. Below are the steps to approve and process funds for families:

Step 1: All families will have access to a brief 5-minute online application that can be accessed via a computer or smartphone (in cases where neither are feasible, an Oakland REACH organizer or a liaison from a potential future partner organization will complete with families over the phone).

Step 2: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. 

Step 3: Approval text and/or emails will be sent out within 48 hours of receipt of online application. 

Step 4: Funds will be disbursed once a week. Money will distributed with the following options:

  1. Venmo
  2. Paypal
  3. Cash App
  4. Check 

How do I donate?
To donate to the REACH Relief Fund, please go here: https://oaklandreach.org/donate/

How do I access the application?
To apply for the REACH Relief Fund, please go here: https://oaklandreach.org/donate/apply-for-reach-relief-fund/