We thank everyone who applied to the most recent cycle of The Innovation Fund, our call for Innovation in Service of Health & Safety for Workers has now closed.
At The Workers Lab, we see an increasing gap when it comes to worker health and safety. This reality is a call for innovation and we are eager to spend time with the new ideas just submitted to The Innovation Fund.
To be frank: funding, action, and innovation for worker health and safety are missing, especially in this COVID-19 moment. There has yet to be a robust federal response targeting basic support and protections for workers. Workers, especially essential workers, are hurting right now. While some essential workers have paid time off and vacation benefits, many do not. Grocery workers, domestic workers, and institutional health care workers have unpredictable schedules. Additionally, many workers who have access to employer-based health insurance plans still face high premiums and poor coverage.
Today, more than half of all essential workers are women. According to recent New York Times reporting, many are also mothers. If a family member falls ill or if their children must engage in distance learning from home, what are they to do? With low-wages and little savings, essential workers also face the impossible choice of opting out of work to be safe, or putting their lives and their family’s lives on the line to make a living.
Working people are the bedrock of our communities and our economy. We owe them the respect and dignity of adequate safety and protections at work, affordable access to healthcare, and financial security. For the first time since we launched The Innovation Fund in 2015, we have two levels of funding available. Ideas ready to pilot will be eligible for $150,000 and early-stage ideas not yet ready to pilot will be eligible for $75,000. Regardless of the stage, we are investing in ideas that have the potential to guarantee the health, safety, and economic security of workers in the U.S. and beyond.
Thanks to you, we have over 180 ideas about worker health & safety to review. From worker safety councils to wearable devices for workers to easily report unsafe conditions, we already see exciting ideas that lift up worker voices to address health and safety. For the next few weeks, we will be reviewing these ideas to identify Finalists. By mid-October, we will select and announce The Innovation Fund Summer 2020 Winners.
Coming Next for The Innovation Fund
This targeted call for Summer 2020 was the second grant cycle of this year for The Innovation Fund. A third and final call for this year is coming up soon. Follow the link below to register to receive email notification about the upcoming broad call for Fall 2020.
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