Get to know Thrive East of the River

Did you know that Bread for the City is a founding member of Thrive East of the River, an innovative cash transfer project? It’s true! We’re working together with three other nonprofits to provide 500+ households impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns with $5,500 in cash, groceries, diapers, and other dry goods; and assistance with financial counseling and job readiness.

Thrive is a partnership between Bread for the City, 11th Street Bridge Park, Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative, and Martha’s Table. We’re demonstrating a new model of direct service: one that is immediately responsive to community needs and helps families stay housed, stable, and fully resourced even during times of job loss, unemployment, and healthcare stress.

This is not entirely new territory for us. For 15 years, Bread for the City has provided emergency grants to those with financial needs that can be met with a small gift, primarily through our Small Favors Fund. There are many reasons why we think this is important: cash transfers cut out the intermediary, meaning donations for these programs go right into family household budgets – helping to keep the utilities on, the rent and car paid up, and any emergency needs to be met. Cash also honors the dignity of our clients by allowing them to choose where and how to spend their money. Finally, cash transfer supports the local economy: despite the massive unemployment we have seen during the public health emergency, the poverty rate in the United States appears to have remained the same because of the government stimulus, which kept families stable in the early weeks of the pandemic (“The government’s coronavirus response might have cut the poverty rate,” Slate.com, June 22, 2020.)

Thrive is the biggest cash transfer project than we’ve ever been a part of, and we couldn’t be more proud to be working with our partner agencies on such an impactful program. In fact, as of the end of August, Thrive has distributed more than $1 million in assistance to over 185 families! We are currently in the process of rolling out cash transfers for the next group of 215 clients, bringing our total served by the end of September to 400 families — or 80% of the total we are planning on supporting. Last month, we also began our weekly grocery distribution and handed out the first batch of dry goods that included hand soaps, a 64 oz. bottle of Tide, toilet paper, and first aid kits.

Want to learn more? Check us out in the media at the following links:

Washington Post story.

Urban’s blog post

Washington Informer

WAMU

The DC Line

DCist

Want to donate to this effort? To date, we’ve secured $3.3 million – with another $845,000 in pending grant applications – towards our $4.1 million fundraising goal to serve 500 families. If we exceed this goal, we plan to enroll additional Ward 8 residents into the program. Help us get there with a donation to Thrive East of the River today. Click here to donate!

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