New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund Provides $4.5 Million In Cash Assistance
Schusterman Foundation Gift Aids NJ’s Vulnerable Residents
(Morristown, NJ) – The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation have provided the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund with an extraordinary donation of $4.5 million, inclusive of a $1.5 million challenge grant, which remains to be fully matched. The challenge is to use the funds solely to benefit immigrant New Jersey residents who are ineligible for federal or state assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. These family’s household incomes are all less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
“Despite their vital contributions to our country’s economy, many immigrant New Jersey residents are unable to get support from the federal government during this crisis,” said Stacy Schusterman, Chair of the Foundation. “Our Foundation believes that those of us with the resources have an obligation to step up and help those who need it most right now. We are giving to U.S. citizens through GiveDirectly and other organizations, and we are proud to support the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund to provide direct cash assistance to immigrants who are unable to access federal and state assistance programs so that they can meet some of their financial needs. We hope others will join in providing support too.”
“The harsh reality is that tens of thousands of families across our state have a total income insufficient to meet their needs even in good times,” said New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, Founding Chair of the NJPRF. “Across the state, the multiple effects of COVID-19 have disproportionately impacted communities of color, leaving certain immigrant families who contribute to our economy unable to access federal or state programs and nowhere to turn. We cannot thank our donors enough – and particularly in this instance, the Schusterman Family Foundation – for partnering with us to bring urgently needed direct assistance to a number of these individuals and families.”
NJPRF is also grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, who have contributed a combined $600,000 to help fund this program. The NJPRF is working to raise additional funds to fill out the rest of this phase of the challenge.
To help fulfill the Schusterman mandate, the NJPRF has partnered with 20 social service organizations in 16 counties – and is looking to expand this program to all 21 New Jersey counties. These organizations will use a set of specific guidelines to identify households that meet the income level criteria. Households with one or two members are receiving a $500 debit card, and households with three or more members are receiving a $1,000 debit card. The card issuing company will track specific general card uses and analyze to enable us to understand better the extent and diversity of need as well as the program’s impact.
NJPRF officials said the initial phase of the effort is supporting immigrant families with no access to federal or state assistance. Households are defined by the number of family members living together, including grandparents living with grandchildren. The debit cards can be used directly in any store or can be used to withdraw cash at an ATM to pay rent or other bills.
“We are proud to support this effort to help the most vulnerable in our state,” said Josh Weinreich, CEO of NJPRF. “As we work toward the resilience, recovery, and future of our state, we must leave no one behind.”
New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund (NJPRF) exists to meet four critical challenges of our state in the face of the COVID-19 crisis: stop the spread, support the healthcare community, provide help for the vulnerable, and rebuild our communities. NJPRF supports organizations that provide essential services and aiding those on the front line of the pandemic. One hundred percent of all online donations will go directly to help those in need. Visit NJPRF.org to donate.