A group of tech industry leaders, nonprofits and philanthropists recently announced the launch of Project 100, a collaborative initiative to transfer $100 million directly into the hands of some of America’s neediest people. Fortune.com has reported on the details. Under the plan, $1,000 in cash will be donated to each of 100,000 poor households. Those who do not have a bank account – a significant proportion of the households – can receive the funds via Paypal or Moneygram. The families receiving this aid are among the 38 million Americans who received SNAP benefits (formerly “food stamps”) in 2019. Experts believe many millions more will become food insecure due to the crisis.
Three organizations are overseeing the Project 100: Propel, a fintech startup that works with poor US families, and nonprofits StandForChildren and GiveDirectly. High profile contributors include Google.org, Rihanna, Stacey Abrams, and Stephen Colbert. To date $55 million has been raised and about $5 million already distributed. Individuals can contribute to the fund here.
Andrew Yang and Humanity Forward
In an email to supporters yesterday, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang stated that he was asked to participate by the organizers of Project 100. Yang gained prominence over the past year by calling for the institution of universal basic income by the US federal government. It was the central policy of his presidential platform. Even before the pandemic he advocated for monthly payments of $1,000 to every American adult. Yang argued that such a measure is necessary because so many workers have been replaced by automation and AI. Yang’s ideas contributed to the bipartisan push for direct cash relief during the coronavirus crisis. Right now $1,200 stimulus payments are en route to tens of millions of Americans.
Yang stated that Project 100 “may be the biggest philanthropic cash transfer directly to people in history.” His nonprofit movement Humanity Forward has been transferring cash to poor New Yorkers since the start of the economic crisis. The organization advocates for human-centered capitalism and personal data as a property right.