All In WA, a coordinated statewide relief effort that is driven by an alliance of philanthropic and community leaders, companies, community foundations, and frontline nonprofits across the state kicked off on Wednesday, May 27.
The groups are coming together to provide immediate critical and emergency support for workers and families who have been acutely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
The organizations' overall goal, according to a May 25 press release, is to raise $65 million to fund the effort. Things are off to a great start with $20 million in initial commitments from the likes of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the Ballmer Group, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, and Howard and Sheri Schultz.
"Washington state was at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our state will be at the forefront of a safe recovery," Gov. Jay Inslee said in the May 27 press release. "All In WA is helping to fill the gaps in funding across the state to provide relief to those who are suffering and to lay the groundwork to restart our economy in a safe, supported and sensible way. I'd like to thank Jeff Bezos for his pledge to match donations and all the other generous donors and businesses who are making this possible."
Bezos will match individual donations under $1 million to All In WA causes up to a total of $25 million.
"Individuals, families, and communities across Washington state are struggling as a result of COVID-19, and I commend Governor Inslee and the First Lady for inspiring thinking big so that All In WA can help those who so desperately need it," Bezos said. "It's been inspiring to watch the people of this state band together and push through this crisis, and I'm excited to see that continue as we raise money for this important cause."
According to Washington State Employment Securities Department, one in five workers across the state have filed for unemployment benefits, which means individuals are at risk of not being able to pay rent or the mortgage on their homes and could see a reduction in the amount of food they can put on their tables.
All In WA intends to address those needs.
"For Microsoft and all of us that live and work in Washington state, All in WA provides inspiration and opportunity to come together to strengthen our community safety net and help those most in need," said Microsoft president Brad Smith. "We are proud to partner with so many on this important initiative."
All In WA is managed by a list of leaders across the state. All funds donated to the All In WA Fund will be distributed in the form of grants to nonprofit organizations. A fund advisory group has been established to oversee the grantmaking.
The primary role for the advisory group according to the information posted on the All In WA website is to affirm strategic direction on the funding approach, inform funding guidelines as needs evolve, highlight gaps in the proposed grant dockets, identify funding opportunities, and ensuring accountability of the fund.
Visit www.allinwa.org for more information or to contribute to the fund.
A virtual benefit concert to help promote and raise funds for the All In WA effort is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 10 and can be streamed on Amazon Music’s Twitch channel (www.twitch.tv/amazonmusic) and www.allinwa.org. It will also be aired statewide on KING 5, KONG, KREM, KSKN, and KVEW/KAPP TV.
Scheduled to appear is Pearl Jam, Macklemore, Brandi Carlile, Ciara, Russell Wilson, The Black Tones, Dave Matthews, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Pete Carroll, Mary Lambert, Joel McHale, Ben Gibbard, and Allen Stone.