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All together now, Austin

Friday, April 3, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano

The past several weeks have brought unprecedented change to Austin as businesses have shuttered and everyone who can has remained home in a citywide effort to flatten the curve and slow the spread of Covid-19.

For many of us, myself included, it has been frustrating to stay home during a crisis. It’s been hard to accept that the best way to help is to not do much at all. That remains true: A report from the University of Texas at Austin shows that unless we all reduce our social interactions by 90 percent, we run the risk of overwhelming hospitals and facing a regional death toll in the thousands. Staying at home may be boring, it may be frustrating, but it is very much what all of us can do to help.

Today, the Monitor is able to do a little more than that: We’ve joined forces with Austin local media to raise money for All Together ATX. As I sit down to write this, the fund has passed $1 million in donations, which will go right back to the people serving those who have been hit hardest by Covid-19 and its economic ripple effect. We’ve reported on this fund before; it was created by a partnership between the Austin Community Foundation and United Way for Greater Austin. Since its initial formation, the fund has gained the support of a whole gang of Austin media, the city of Austin and more. Today all of us in the media are galvanizing our efforts to make sure that everyone knows about it.

If you’re able, we ask that you head on over to All Together ATX to donate what you can. Anyone can donate on the website, by texting TogetherATX to 474747 or even by check.

If you are one of the many nonprofits in Central Texas that has been impacted by the pandemic and resultant shutdowns, the process for distributing grants of up to $25,000 is already underway. The fund will be distributed to local nonprofit organizations that focus on Austin and Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties, with preference given to those working in undercapitalized communities.

Applications for the first round of rapid-response grants are currently open and the deadline to apply is Friday, April 10, by 5 p.m. Initially, priority will be given to groups serving populations that are most in need of immediate help, with later grants to expand to long-term recovery. The first round of awards is scheduled to be announced April 17 and is focused on those who provide services dealing with food insecurity, basic needs, medical needs, employment and child care. More information about grant eligibility can be found here.

No matter how you’re doing it, thanks for doing your part. Stay home, stay safe, and we’ll see you on the other side of this.

The Austin Monitor’s work is made possible by donations from the community. Though our reporting covers donors from time to time, we are careful to keep business and editorial efforts separate while maintaining transparency. A complete list of donors is available here, and our code of ethics is explained here.

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