Like the rest of the world, millions of Americans are waiting for things to clear up both economically and medically. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many unemployed and some still waiting for their stimulus check from the U.S. government. One organization has decided to bypass that wait to help the families who currently need monetary aid.
The 1K Project for Pandemic Relief launched on April 5th and its mission is to help families that are financially impacted by lockdown regulations currently in place to combat COVID-19. The organization works as a bridge to connect people who are in need of funds with people who are able to donate. “These are families who are living paycheck to paycheck, and got hit really hard by the pandemic because the breadwinners were let go or furloughed,” said Alex Iskold, Co-founder based in NYC. “We started the project when it became very clear that the government aid was not coming quickly enough.”
“These are families who are living paycheck to paycheck, and got hit really hard by the pandemic because the breadwinners were let go or furloughed,”
The project’s name comes from the idea that the sponsors provide $1,000 a month to the families they sponsor for 3 months. Sound familiar? Recent presidential candidate Andrew Yang ran on this economic stimulus platform, and he tweeted about their efforts when the project caught his eye in May.
Origins of the project started with a simple idea: helping families who have faced negative financial implications during the pandemic. The co-founders, Alex Iskold and Minda Brusse, are entrepreneurs who immediately took action to execute this plan. The organization assigned a sponsor to its first within a few days of launching and has continued to grow ever since. They have now helped 230 families in 31 states through $750,000 sponsored dollars.
“The project really struck a chord with the communities,” said Iskold. “The feedback from families and sponsors is incredible. When you read stories of these families you know what we are doing matters. The impact is meaningful and real.”
How Does it Work?
The project has multiple tiers of participation. Whether you’re a family looking for help, a family looking to help, or someone who knows either, here’s what you need to know:
Other Ways You Can Help
As the organization scales and processes more families, they will continue to need referrals, sponsors, and volunteers. “We are actively thinking about how to take The $1k Project to the next level.” If you would like to help or volunteer for the project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submit Your Application for Help
Are you a family that’s in need of economic relief? At this time, the organization is only accepting applications from families who have been nominated by a former employer or a friend. You can have someone else nominate you by sending them the forms to fill out at http://1kproject.org/employee or http://1kproject.org/refer.
The founders felt the need to launch the project when they started to see that people were significantly hit financially by the end of March. “The problem is that millions of Americans have no savings and no safety net,” said Iskold. “They simply are not able to deal with the catastrophe like this pandemic. The government aid is either not coming at all to some of them or not coming quickly enough.”
Iskold notes they’ve observed that small business owners and entrepreneurs have been hit the hardest - restaurants, fitness instructors, hairstylists, and nannies. These are the local businesses and service providers who are living paycheck to paycheck that the organization prioritizes providing aid to.
“The problem is that millions of Americans have no savings and no safety net,” said Iskold. “They simply are not able to deal with the catastrophe like this pandemic. The government aid is either not coming at all to some of them or not coming quickly enough.”
"Our process acknowledges that we can’t find and help everyone in need, but every match helps,”
“Every single family that gets funded is what keeps us going,” said Iskold. “The need is so loud and so clear. It really is not about pride, it is about this massive need out there, and we are racing hard to get families impacted by the pandemic the help they need and deserve.”
It’s important to note that both the sponsor and recipient remain anonymous, and the support ends after the 3 months of $1k funding.
“Our process acknowledges that we can’t find and help everyone in need, but every match helps,” said Iskold. You can read about some of the success stories from the project at http://1kproject.org/stories.
A quote from the mother of one of the families who the 1k Project has paired with a sponsor
"To my amazing sponsor, my family is eternally grateful for your kindness and generosity. When I was told I had the opportunity to be referred to this program I was happy yet skeptical. So much has gone wrong for us over the past few years I tend to not get my hopes up. When I got the message I was sponsored I was in complete shock, and disbelief! I broke out into tears as I was driving home from dropping masks off to a friend. My kids know things are hard at home, they are aware of our struggles but at the same time appreciative of everything. They missed out on so much through my husband's cancer treatment, a beach trip, a trip to a water park, little things but big for them. We are now able to put money toward the medical bills, to pay for food and keep a roof over our head, and to hopefully be able to sometime in the future when we are in a better place take them to the beach. This money is so important and needed in my family, it is something I wasn't able to provide and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope you and your family stay safe through this, you are always in my thoughts as our special person, thank you!”
- Stephanie in Nevada