How True Given Supports Community-Based Organizations Create and Sustain Relief Fund Programs

Sun 25 Jul 2021

Many low-income workers and immigrants work in jobs key to many states' prosperity, including farmworkers, food-processing workers, housekeepers, construction workers, landscapers, caregivers, and day laborers. They are hardworking individuals, but many face job losses and struggle to make ends meet due to the pandemic.

 In late March 2020, Congress enacted a federal relief package that extends unemployment insurance to self-employed individuals and other categories of workers normally not covered by unemployment insurance. But, despite outcry from labor rights advocates and immigrant rights advocates, workers without legal status were intentionally excluded from accessing relief. These families were also completely cut out of the cash assistance the federal government sent to families. Without access to financial assistance, the health impacts of COVID-19 on immigrant communities have been compounded by housing and food insecurity.

Community-based organizations (CBOs) knew that they needed to support their community members. However, It was challenging to efficiently support their community members because of the lack of technology infrastructure to fundraise, process grant requests, and disburse cash grants to individuals experiencing financial hardship. Community-Based Organizations realized that they needed a new system to provide financial relief to people. 

And so True Given was created, an online grantmaking platform used by community-based organizations and government partners to create and sustain relief fund programs. True Given supports our partners with the entire process of account funding, receiving applications, reviewing applications, and disbursing funds.

System Capabilities

1. Universal Application System

a. Create a user-friendly online application to assist applicants through the process; and

b. Create a checklist that the CBO can use for intake.

2. Funding Distribution to Approved Applicants

a. Payment would be made to the recipient of the funds by a preferred payment method-check, money order, direct deposit, mobile payment, cash app, etc., or picked up at a location of a participating organization.

b. Applicants may qualify for more assistance after as funds are available.

3. Information Security - De-Identified

a. Secure intake of information provided by applicants.

b. Retain applicant information securely for a limited amount of time.

4. Identification & Navigation

a. Organizations identify through existing channels potentially eligible individuals (this saves administrative money by using existing channels)

b. Applicants can navigate through the organization's application (the application would be applicant-facing).

c. Organizations hold the relationship with the applicant, collect evidence, transmit the eligibility decision, and provide other service support through existing programs or referral channels.

5. Screening, Assessment, Eligibility Determination

a. Screens all incoming applications, communicates with the navigator (not applicant) about the application, if necessary.

b. Assesses eligibility

c. Makes eligibility determination & communicates information to the navigating organization.

6. Enrollment, Distribution

a. Enrollment in the distribution system

b. Payment to approved applicants will be made in a method that would work for the applicant and following social distancing guidelines set by the state and local jurisdictions within a maximum of 10 business days of being approved.

7. Reporting

a. Provide a report to stakeholders on the impact made by the Relief Fund Program.

b. Provide de-identified survey results to the state to better assess the impact COVID-19 has in the community; and

c. Additional benchmarks set by the organization assigned to this project.

True Given was created with the help of more than 20 community organizations across the US to provide temporary financial support to low-income and immigrant workers and families during the COVID-19 crisis. Community-based organizations and non-profits currently use our technology organizations to support their community members.

Since the release of our beta platform, True Given has been instrumental in the disbursement of $100,000. We have partnered with community-based organizations in Cambridge and Boston to pilot our technology. We currently have 6 community-based organization partners and have processed over 120 applications. We are looking to make a continued impact in the Boston area and expand to community-based organizations in neighboring states.

For more information, please get in touch with Babatunde at