Rent Relief Campaign #FirstOfTheMonth Increases Fund Goal to $2M to Help Families Impacted by COVID-19 Fallout

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#FirstOfTheMonth officially launches today with a $2 million fund goal after surpassing its initial goal of $1 million thanks to local nonprofits, small donors and tech leaders. Because of their generosity, #FirstOfTheMonth emergency fund was able to provide rent relief for 187 families on May 1.

“Protecting those hit hardest by COVID-19 takes a village of small and large donors,” said Live In Peace Executive Director Heather Starnes-Logwood. “We were overwhelmed by the need, and the desire to help from nonprofits, neighbors and tech leaders who mobilized to be a part of the solution.”

Today, community leaders and three Silicon Valley-based nonprofits announce the launch of #FirstOfTheMonth – a joint campaign to provide direct rent relief to local working-class families who’ve lost their jobs and are now at risk of losing their homes due to COVID-19 fallout.

#FirstOfTheMonth aims to raise at least $2 million in order to stabilize 300 or more families. Donations are being collected at and distributed through direct mutual aid – meaning families receive funds within 48 hours. Recipients of #FirstOfTheMonth rent relief are identified and carefully vetted by community leaders of the three nonprofits – Dreamers Roadmap, Kafenia Peace Collective, and Live In Peace.

“Growing up here we were always supported by others and now it’s my turn to give back, I was once in their shoes and I know how it feels to be trusted and helped. Asking for help is not easy, even in these times,” said Dreamers RoadMap Founder Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca. “So when we found that our community members were in dire need, we moved quickly to provide them as much help as we could. This is how we show our love for our community.”

When shelter-in-place led to countless job losses in the service industry, affected community members and local nonprofit leaders quickly organized to help stabilize their neighbors who continue to be devastated by COVID-19 fallout. In late April, #FirstOfTheMonth started with a soft launch and goal of raising $1 million to assist 150 families with rent payments for three months.

Weeks before officially launching, the campaign met its initial goal, thanks to the generosity of New Story, a nonprofit focused on pioneering solutions to end global homelessness, and over 300 individual donors and tech leaders – including Joelle Emerson and Aaron Levie, Eric S. Yuan, and Jack Dorsey’s #startsmall initiative.

"I believe it is important to contribute to our neighbors who need the most help right now so their lives can remain safe and stable," said Eric S. Yuan, CEO of Zoom. "I am honored to give to #FirstOfTheMonth's rent relief campaign in order to make sure that hard working local families don't lose basic necessities like housing during this crisis.”

An initial round of rent relief was distributed directly to 187 families’ landlords on May 1, 2020. The new $2 million goal means that at least 300 families can be stabilized through the end of July, preventing hundreds of children and their parents from losing their homes. To encourage support from as many neighbors as possible, a generous anonymous donor will match individual donations under $1,000 through May, up to a maximum of $100,000.

“Protecting those hit hardest by COVID-19 takes a village of small and large donors,” said Live In Peace Executive Director Heather Starnes-Logwood. “We were overwhelmed by the need, and the desire to help from nonprofits, neighbors and tech leaders who mobilized to be a part of the solution.”

The campaign is officially launching this week via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – utilizing the same grassroots efforts that the three nonprofits have come to rely on.

“We don’t want a single neighbor to lose their home, community, or school because of COVID-19, and with your help, we can make sure that’s true,” said Mary Jane Marcus, founder of Kafenia Peace Collective.

Images and interviews are currently available with #FirstOfTheMonth nonprofit leaders, several donors and local families aided by the campaign.

About #FirstOfTheMonth Nonprofit Organizers:

Live In Peace
Live In Peace’s mission is to empower our youth and young adults to reclaim the vision for their future. We accomplish this through a highly relational model that connects young people to their talents, educational pathways, jobs, and a bright future. We have four programs: SWAG, Gap-Year Project, College Initiative, and The Bike Shop, and many of our students are able to take advantage of many or all of our programs as they provide wrap-around support at all stages of young adults’ lives. Our programs combine our intuitive nature and systemic understanding to create powerful and effective programs with long-term impact. Our programs focus on youth and young adults that are not served by other programs and partners, and those identified by their high schools as the most at-risk for dropping out. We mentor, counsel, tutor, coach, advocate, fund, and serve in the role of anything that a strong community should do on behalf of its youth.

Dreamers Roadmap
Dreamers Roadmap is a free national mobile app that helps undocumented students find scholarships to go to college. For years undocumented students have struggled more than permanent residents or citizen students in everyday situations. But when senior year of high school comes around, it becomes one of the hardest years for an undocumented student. This is the year when most students find out that they don't qualify for FAFSA and the majority of scholarships. First because they don't have a social security number and second because they are not "legal" permanent residents or citizens of the United States. Many students by this point are discouraged and don't believe that going to college is a possibility. That’s why Dreamer’s Roadmap is very proud to provide them resources that they do qualify for through the Dreamer’s Roadmap App.

Kafenia Peace Collective
Kafenia Peace Collective offers welcome, refuge, and real human connection in an ever more virtual world. We’re a network of neighbors from all over the world who organize gatherings and projects that bridge our diverse backgrounds and celebrate our common humanity. The Kafenia name comes from the village Kafenio in Greece where men shared food, friendship, social and political life together. The “A” signifies a feminine, multicultural reimagining of this old tradition. Join us in building a more humane and interconnected Silicon Valley and world, what we call “A Village of All Together.”

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Valerie Demicheva
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