“For me, this support means so much to me as a single mother. Being able to receive this money gives me hope that I am taken into account and supported because I don't qualify for any other kind of government support. It's the ability to breath a little better because now I can say I will be able to pay another month of rent, and this is so important for me and other domestic workers. I'm also thankful for the Domestic Workers Alliance for fighting with and for us. Through this organization we are organized as domestic workers and have access to this support. Thank you to all the workers who actively fought to become reality.”—Maria Herrera, House Cleaner, National Domestic Workers Alliance - PA Chapter Leader
Para acceder esta página en español, haga clic aquí: Spanish translation WRF website blurb
The Philadelphia Worker Relief Fund was established with the critical support and advocacy of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Coalition to Respect Every Worker, a coalition of worker-focused organizations composed of legal aid groups, non-profits, and labor unions. The Philadelphia Worker Relief Fund provided emergency direct cash assistance to workers and families impacted by COVID-19 who were left out of all federal and state relief. The goal of the cash assistance was to improve the economic security, health, and safety of more Philadelphia families.
Those who were unable to access federal and state relief included essential workers on the front lines of the pandemic—domestic workers, farmworkers, home health aides, and food delivery workers. These workers were critical to the recovery of our city, yet have been carved out of government relief programs.
Thank you to the Douty Foundation and the William Penn Foundation for your generous contribution to this life saving program.
1. What was the Philadelphia Worker Relief Fund?
The Philadelphia Worker Relief Fund provided emergency direct cash assistance to workers and families impacted by COVID-19 who were left out of all federal and state relief.
2. How were the funds used?
The funds raised went towards direct cash assistance to support eligible workers and families. This emergency relief was used for expenses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic due to impact(s) on health or employment. Once applications were approved, applicants were able to access their relief payment in the form of a prepaid debit card. The cards were able to be used just like a credit card to buy necessities online or in person, wherever credit cards were accepted. Due to limited funds available, not all applicants received payment.
3. How much money did the Philadelphia Worker Relief Fund raise? How many families received relief support?
Over two distribution cycles, the Fund received $2.2 million in philanthropic funding commitments, including support from the Open Society Foundations, the Albert and Mary Douty Foundation, and the William Penn Foundation. The emergency direct cash assistance supported 2,820 Philadelphia workers who were left out of federal and state COVID-19 relief programs.
4. How were the funds distributed?
The Philadelphia City Fund housed and distributed funds to 14 community-based organizations (CBOs) across Philadelphia through Alia, an online benefits platform. Alia contracted with both the Philadelphia City Fund and participating CBOs to provide applications and codes to eligible individuals. Individuals applied for funding using the Alia Cares online application after receiving their code from a community based organization. Alia Cares ran fraud checks and approved applications. After the applications were processed, applicants received $800 on prepaid Mastercard gift cards.
5. Who were the 14 community-based organizations chosen to distribute the funds?
The Philadelphia City Fund partnered with 14 community-based organizations to connect to individuals who were not eligible for other federal and state assistance programs. These trusted organizations are located in communities across the city and serve diverse populations; they represent diversity in countries of origin, languages spoken, and geographic areas of the city, helping to reach populations that are often difficult to reach. This partnership also helped to build the relationship between CBOs and the Mayor’s Office of Labor for longer-term engagement on workers’ rights and other issues.
African Cultural Alliance of North America
African Family Health Organization
Asian Americans United
Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia
Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church
Haitian American Voice
New Sanctuary Movement
Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association
People’s Emergency Center
Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation
National Domestic Workers Alliance
Popular Alliance for Undocumented Workers
South East Asian Mutual Assistance Association
6. Was this emergency cash assistance considered taxable income for applicants?
No. This Worker Relief Fund was an emergency fund set up to provide one-time assistance to workers impacted by COVID-19. It was considered disaster relief and a charitable gift to those who received the $800 debit card, not income.