AF Coalition Members Step up During Crisis (Vol. 12)

Every week, America Forward is highlighting a few examples of the vital work being done by our Coalition members to support students, families, educators, workers, elected leaders, advocates, and communities across the country. If your organization has resources, an announcement, or a story that you would like to see included, please send it to


The COVID-19 crisis has severely strained financial circumstances in families and communities across the country. In an effort to ease this hardship, LIFT worked quickly to distribute emergency cash transfers to the families in their program (and some recent graduates) — totaling over 800 families and more than $1 million in assistance. In addition to this critical financial support, LIFT also swiftly transformed their in-person programming to virtual, in order to ensure the safety of families, staff, and volunteers; and successfully hosted their 2020 #DISRUPTPoverty Summit online.


Despite being forced to suspend programming due to the pandemic, Jumpstart continued to show up for their communities, offering COVID-19 Information & Updates to help them navigate this crisis. Not only did they compile a range of relevant resources — pertaining to higher education, student travel and financial support, AmeriCorps members, immigrant students and their families, nutrition and food, physical and mental health, and more — they also detailed COVID-19 response policy priorities, in order to promote civic engagement and encourage community support.


In an effort to recover education lost during a spring interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Zearn is offering a learning recovery program to school administrators and teachers. The program is designed to help students maintain and continue to meet significant and relevant academic thresholds and mitigate the adverse educational impacts of this crisis. It includes webinars for educators and a comprehensive summer math program for K-5 students.

Reading Partners

With their reading center sites closed due to COVID-19 safety precautions, Reading Partners created a Resource Library for families, featuring “expertly crafted literacy tips” and literacy worksheets to continue to support the students they serve. They also offer additional resources for families, including Bright by Text, a way to promote literacy through age-appropriate, reliable, and evidence-based text messages, live virtual read alouds, and a broader resource inventory for students and caregivers.

Service Year

A year of service can have an enormous, positive, and long-lasting impact on local communities; and during a pandemic, this impact is even more powerful. Service Year has put together a list of paid service opportunities to respond to the COVID-19 crisis — including opportunities to tackle housing insecurity and combat learning loss — helping to meet needs created and exacerbated by COVID-19 and engage folks in local recovery efforts.


MORTAR’s alumni network is full of diverse entrepreneurs working to build and grow their businesses — many of which are Black- or minority-owned organizations. To connect consumers to beneficial goods and services, help these businesses stay strong throughout the pandemic, and promote racial justice and equity by supporting Black entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color, MORTAR put together a list of alumni and their businesses to support during the COVID-19 crisis.

Institute for Child Success (ICS)

As calls for greater racial equity and justice continue to sweep across the nation, ICS is working to lift up the perspectives of Black students and ensure their experiences are considered when working to support the success of all students. By creating an anonymous survey to be filled out by the caregivers of Black children, ICS hopes to gather critical data to then be used “to encourage policies that more effectively address the needs of Black children in the United States.”

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