If you’re lucky enough to still have a job—unlike the 30 million Americans who have filed for unemployment over the last six weeks—and you’ve decided you don’t need the stimulus check that you may be eligible for from the government, a simple new tool called #CheckForGood will help you choose where to donate the money.
“I think one of the things that quarantine has magnified for a lot of us is privilege,” says Christopher Nickelson, who created the new site. “For me, that really shows up as, I have a roof over my head. I have a job where I can work remotely. I work at a nonprofit, but I still have enough money to order groceries to last me a few weeks and not go to the grocery store. And so when I saw $1,200 deposited in my bank account, like a lot of people, the first thing I thought was, oh, wow, how should I spend this money? Then it hit me that there are so many people who can’t afford to ask this question.”
He designed the new tool, he says, “in the spirit of pushing equality forward in a small way.” The tool offers two options. If you want to support an emergency fund that gives money directly to individuals, you’ll be quickly directed to choices like a fund run by the nonprofit GiveDirectly, which is sending $1,000 checks to some of the lowest-income Americans, or the Workers Fund, which is sending no-strings-attached checks to gig workers. Nickelson carefully selected funds, avoiding some that he says have been set up by industry lobbying groups “whose core operational mission is antithetical to the interests of workers.”
Another set of suggestions focuses on longer-term solutions to endemic poverty, from organizations working on justice reform and healthcare to educational access. Immediate relief is “super important, especially in times of crisis,” he says. “But it’s also important to acknowledge that in a moment like this, what people from marginalized communities are really wanting is for this not to happen again in the future. What are the problems that created this situation in the first place?”
As the economic crisis continues (and longstanding inequality persists), Nickelson says he may run similar campaigns with tax refunds or end-of-year bonuses in the future. “The core focus is not to be a stand-alone organization that raises money for itself, but to really lift up and connect people with the incredible work that so many organizations are already doing,” he says.