The non-profit Accelerator for America will provide technical assistance and $50,000 in funding to help Salt Lake City stand up the infrastructure needed to successfully administer a financial assistance program for residents whose livelihoods have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Building on the successful Angeleno Card financial relief program for Los Angeles residents, the non-profit Accelerator for America announced today it will help 10 additional U.S. communities establish similar programs, including Salt Lake City. This initiative is supported by a $750,000 grant from the Open Society Foundation.
“Being chosen by Accelerator for America to participate in this program means that we’ll be able to add an additional channel of financial assistance to those who need it most,” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said. “COVID-19 has heavily impacted Salt Lake City, and we’re thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of this innovative model, which we believe can help some of our most greatly impacted residents.”
The Angeleno Card program was established in March by Accelerator for America in partnership with the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, and Mastercard City Possible to provide direct financial assistance via no-fee debit cards to Los Angeles residents whose livelihoods were hardest-hit by the pandemic, including low-wage hourly workers who had jobs in homes and restaurants, seasonal workers, day laborers, street vendors, and self-employed individuals. The program also serves residents regardless of immigration status — immigrant communities have been some of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, yet they have been too often excluded from federal assistance.
Since its inception, the Angeleno Card program has distributed approximately $25 million in assistance to help roughly 70,000 Los Angeles residents. The program facilitates local fundraising and delivers the donations directly to families most in need, via a prepaid card, ensuring the rapid deployment of aid and secure access for the unbanked. The Angeleno Card program was highlighted during John Legend’s Father’s Day (June 21, 2020) special that was broadcast nationally on ABC, which also announced that the Accelerator was expanding the program into 10 additional communities nationwide. Watch Legend discuss the Angeleno Card here. For details about the Angeleno Card model, see here.
In addition to Salt Lake City, the 10 communities include: Atlanta, GA; the State of Connecticut; the State of Rhode Island; Chattanooga, TN; Dayton, OH; Oklahoma City, OK; Birmingham, AL; Louisville, KY; and Austin, TX. To donate funds to help residents of these cities, visit Acceleratorforamerica.org, powered by the Mastercard Donation Platform, or Text Legend to 27126.
Accelerator for America, with resources and expertise from Mastercard, will work alongside city officials until the program is fully operational, providing the necessary expertise and technical support to ensure success.
“We are helping America’s cities fill critical gaps left by the federal response to the economic devastation caused by the pandemic,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, who co-founded Accelerator for America. “Immigrants and domestic workers are essential to our economy and our communities, and we will not get through this pandemic by leaving people behind. I thank the Open Society Foundations for its support of Accelerator for America’s work to help cities directly assist their residents in need.”
“Immigrants and undocumented workers have been on the front lines keeping countless communities moving while shelter in place orders disrupted our daily lives,” said Patrick Gaspard, President, the Open Society Foundations. “The sacrifice of those we often overlook as service employees can no longer be ignored. It is a privilege to work with Accelerator for America to provide needed support and resources to communities across the country. Becoming a force multiplier, Accelerator for America is helping close a support gap for workers that would otherwise push many families to the brink. Their work and vision in this process is needed and will leave a lasting impact on so many.”
“Accelerator for America exists to create and share solutions with America’s cities, and we are proud to help as they step up in an unprecedented way to respond to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Rick Jacobs, co-founder and CEO of Accelerator for America. “We are extremely grateful to the Open Society Foundations, whose willingness to partner with us will improve lives across America.”
“We are thrilled to expand the reach of our financial assistance program to get more people the help they need,” said Miguel Gamiño, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Partnerships and Head of Global Cities at Mastercard. “This builds on Mastercard’s work to mobilize our talent, insights, and technology to create solutions that serve communities that are often overlooked by traditional systems, including the unbanked and people of color.”