A Message about the Spring 2020 Innovation Fund and COVID-19

by Adrian Haro, on March 23, 2020 at 6:08 PM
Adrian Haro about the Spring 2020 Innovation Fund and COVID-19

As COVID-19 turned from a news story that seemed far away to a national emergency here at home, we've been working to understand how to adjust our programming and be responsive to our partners and workers. First, we've been working on modifying our daily operations. Like you, we're adapting how we work and communicate to ensure everyone's safety and health. 

But for us, there’s more at stake than changes to our own day-to-day functioning.

This national emergency is exposing  major gaps in the existing social safety net. During this time of crisis, new ideas to support workers are more important than ever. New ideas about increasing worker power, and tools that enhance long-standing ones, are very quickly making their way into our national discourse, especially those aimed at keeping workers safe and secure. Historic resources are being marshaled to provide a range of support to workers at unprecedented scales.

In order to meet this moment, we are committed to proceeding with the current cycle of the Innovation Fund and are extending our deadline for accepting applications to April 22 and hosting informational webinars April 7th and 10th at 11am PST. Register here for the webinars.

The Innovation Fund remains an important opportunity to source ideas that address new challenges for workers in the 21st century and those that persist from the 20th century. The focus of this application cycle was always about sourcing innovation in the way of existing supports for workers. We encourage applicants to share how their submissions innovate on the design, delivery, accessibility, eligibility, and/or enforcement of the support their project provides.

COVID-19 has exposed how critical just-in-time support can be, but it has also exposed the importance of having a vision for how those supports can become the norm and last beyond this moment of national crisis. Perhaps more than ever before, we are ready and eager to learn about your ideas for innovation around the kinds of supports workers need now and in the future.

We are exploring how to adapt our idea incubation process going forward. Our winners' safety is important to us—and so is their connection. We have adjusted our schedule for this cycle and are in the process of arranging for virtual activities for our Innovation Fund Finalists Showcase. For the most up to date information, visit our Innovation Fund page.

If you have ideas that can support workers, let us hear them. If you have a network, please spread the word that we are still accepting applications.

The continuity of our current programming is important, but we want to do more. Over the last week, we've been working tirelessly to identify and put in place more supports.

Together with our investors and partners, we have put together a rapid response plan to help workers. The next email you receive from me, as early as tomorrow, will contain a major announcement. 

Every one of us is finding our daily interactions changing. You may have been sheltering in place for several days, or you might be expecting new orders to do so, or you may be a worker who has to continue to show up and risk your own health. It's now more important than ever for us to stay connected—to our mission and to each other.

Use the links below to connect with us now on social media to:

  • Stay up to date with news about the Innovation Fund
  • Take part in our rapid response plan
  • Swap stories with fellow members of our community

Join the conversation now on:

Notify me when The Innovation Fund applications open

Topics: The Innovation Fund