Generate Health Supports STL Mutual Aid

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Generate Health has redirected $335,000 of community-led investment to support Black moms and babies weathering this ongoing crisis.  Our work to close racial disparities in infant and maternal mortality has taught us time and time again that those closest to the problem best know how to solve it.  In responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, the community leaders who guide FLOURISH investments – our Community Leaders’ Cabinet – underscored the need for nimble and responsive funding in this unprecedented moment.  One of our most significant investments has been $50,000 to STL Mutual Aid – a network of organizers, healers, artists, community leaders, and everyday people coming together to deliver food and supplies, provide financial solidarity, offer emotional support, and connect people to their neighbors.  Partnering with STL Mutual Aid has enabled FLOURISH St. Louis to provide resources directly to Black pregnant and parenting families.

STL Mutual Aid formed in March to rapidly respond to the devastating effects of the pandemic on everyday people and already marginalized communities.  Many of the organizers who formed the network had been working together for years through organizations like Arthouse, A Red Circle, Solidarity Economy STL, InPower Institute, and We Power.

STL Mutual Aid differs from traditional charitable giving in its focus on solidarity and mutuality.  As organizer and healer, Brittini “Ree Belle” Gray explains, “Where systems fail, community steps in. The devastation currently being experienced by many in the community right now is not a new crisis. It is the continuation of policies and practices that have prioritized profits and production over human beings and our wellness.”

The mutual aid network has grown to more than 1,500 neighbors in zip codes throughout St. Louis City and County, including many in the zip codes targeted by FLOURISH grantmaking.  All told, the nearly $600,000 raised by the mutual aid network, including the grant from FLOURISH, has supported the immediate financial needs of nearly one thousand individuals and galvanized hundreds of neighbors to share what they can offer with their community.

Living inside this crisis, it’s clear that its impact is wide-reaching and its consequences long-lasting.  Still, it can be hard to wrap our arms around the scale and scope of need.  One striking indicator of the depth of need is the speed at which funds were exhausted for Covid-19 support.  On October 1, STL Mutual Aid opened its process to redistribute FLOURISH funds to Black pregnant and parenting families; Generate Health encouraged our existing community partners to refer clients and Mutual Aid set a maximum request of $1,500.  Within 12 hours, STL Mutual Aid received 60 requests, with the total requested exceeding the amount available by more than 3 times.  Within a week, the network had distributed all $50,000 to families in need.  This quick turnaround makes a world of difference to families on the brink of crisis.  A typical recipient headed a family of four and received $863.  Eighty percent of those families received monies via app payment systems; most needed help with rent, utilities, and the cost of baby products.  The need for support is overwhelming and will persist past the winter months — likely even years.

We encourage our donors to learn more about rapid-response funding mechanisms like STL Mutual Aid that support the everyday needs of Black moms and babies and put in place community-building safety nets that will help families weather this crisis and the next.  2020 has challenged all of us to see that systemic racism is the long-term crisis that makes the impact of short-term crises especially devastating to families of color.  Without efforts like those of STL Mutual Aid to address the immediate impact of the Covid-19, Generate Health cannot continue moving toward our North Star – eliminating racial disparities in infant mortality by 2033.

Please consider giving to STL Mutual Aid at Tax-deductible donations and checks to the STL Mutual Aid Fund can also be made out to:

Solidarity Economy STL, LLC., 3020 S Jefferson Ave. St. Louis, MO 63118.  While monetary contributions are a critical part of meeting needs, many folks in the mutual aid network support their neighbors by delivering food and supplies, staffing the mutual aid hotline, and/or organizing donors. If you’d like to explore and sign up for other ways to contribute, you can do so by completing this form.

To find out more about STL Mutual Aid, please contact Julia Ho, or 1-806-535-4768.

Generate Health
5501 Delmar Blvd, #B240
St. Louis, MO 63112
phone: (314) 880-5719
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