March For Our Lives is on a journey to truly support and center the people and communities most impacted by gun violence. Shifting resources through mutual aid is just one way of doing that. We are launching Aid & Alliance, a resource sharing program that will distribute nearly $500k to support anti-violence work led by BIPOC youth organizations and activists on the ground. The spirit of aid and alliance extends beyond this individual program—it is the guiding vision that will carry us forward in 2021.
The Aid & Alliance mutual aid program seeks to:
- Decenter whiteness in the gun violence prevention movement;
- Build meaningful and lasting relations with BIPOC Youth Leaders;
- Train MFOL Members on how to be better comrades for this Movement;
- Fill in gaps for communities where life inequities have hardened the impact of COVID-19; and
- Take collective action on Gun Culture; Public Health; Armed Supremacy; Poverty; Political Apathy and Corruption
FAQs on Aid & Alliance
You have questions, we have answers!
This is the first time March For Our Lives has introduced a program like this, so if you have a question that hasn’t been answered here please reach out.
The remaining 50k has been reserved to pay BIPOC youth leaders, organizers, and community advisers who are helping drive Aid & Alliance. Additionally, we’ve opted to save these funds for other expenses, such as supplies and costs for training events, and to make the program more accessible (such as providing internet access for trainings if needed, providing meals during trainings, etc.). Since this is our first time doing a program like this, we want to ensure we have this reserve to pay people and cover any unexpected costs. Our hope is that after this year, we’re able to see our impact and costs, report back to all of you, and continue to improve this program.
- The Aid and Alliance team will be in constant contact with partner organizations, and will ensure that the giving process is collaborative and transparent for all involved.
- Re: Chapters; participating chapters are able to request up to $2,500 for their mutual aid initiatives. Of the money they receive, chapters are able to set their own budgets to achieve success on the projects they are planning.
- Re: Cities; Participating organizations will receive an unrestricted grant of $8,000 each, which means each organization may independently choose how to spend the funds, whether that is toward their programmatic initiatives and/or organizational support. Additionally, each city coalition will receive $12,500 to be used for a collaborative mutual aid event.
We do not plan on publishing any regular updates re: how money is spent, solely because we are giving participating organizations and chapters primary control over the initiatives that they plan. However, at the end of the program we will publish a program evaluation that will contain information about the events that took place as part of Aid & Alliance, a breakdown of MFOL’s expenses to execute the program, and feedback from chapters and participating organizations.
An internal team of MFOL staff from across the organization is collaborating to review and score grant applications to determine who will receive funding. For the chapters tracks, we make an effort to approve as many applications as possible, within the funding limits. We put a greater focus on events that will directly benefit the community in a tangible way, provide resources in a safe and impactful way, are well thought out, and have an emphasis on partnerships with local, on-the-ground organizations. For the cities track, the team will score applications for each city on the following criteria:
- Quality of Concept (Max of 25 Points)
- Potential to Advance Aid and Alliance Objectives (Max 25 Points)
- Urgency (Max of 20 Points)
- Capacity (Max of 20 Points)
- Uniqueness of Approach (Max of 10 Points)
We will use these scores to compile a list of finalists by city and then do another pass through these applications with an eye toward equity and representation to narrow it down to the final 3 organizations. For a more detailed explanation of the cities track application and process, please visit our Cities Application Overview page.
Eligible cities were selected using a custom index created by March For Our Lives Data Director, Tej Gokhale, to shed light on where gun violence is truly most concentrated and where March For Our Lives could make a meaningful impact, based on our local infrastructure and organization values. A deeper dive into the index and selection process is available here.
- Chapter: Yes! You are able to apply for a grant through one of the other two rounds being offered via the chapters track. Grants in the chapters track are not limited by geographic location.
- External organizations: Unfortunately, no. While we wish we could open up the cities track to external organizations in other cities, we have chosen these 8 cities intentionally. This is a new program, and our capacity is limited, so we want to ensure that we achieve the intended goals so that we can consider expanding the program to additional cities in future years. However, we are always open to partnerships with other organizations, so if you’d like to talk to us about getting involved or partnering with a local MFOL chapter, please contact us!
Up to 3 organizations from each of the cities listed will be selected to participate in the first cohort of the cities track for Aid & Alliance. Below is a detailed timeline.
- Cities Application Opens 3/17/21
- Cities Info Session 4/27/21
- Cities Applications Due 5/14/21
- Cities Organizations Decisions Announced 5/28/21
- Cities Trainings 6/7-6/11/21
- Cities Mutual Aid Labs 6/14-8/13/21
- Cities Mutual Aid Period 7/16-8/29/21
- Cities Talk Back Sessions Fall 2021
There will be 3 rounds of chapter applications for mutual aid projects as part of Aid & Alliance. Below is a detailed timeline for each.
- Chapters Info Session 2/23/21
- Chapter Round 1 Application Opens 2/24/21
- Chapters Round 1 Applications Due 3/1/21
- Chapter Round 1 Decisions Announced 3/4/21
- Chapters Round 1 Trainings and Labs 3/4-3/18
- Chapters Round 1 Mutual Aid Projects 3/20-3/23
- Chapters Round 2 Info Session 6/17/2021
- Chapter Round 2 Request for Letters of Interest Opens 6/17/2021
- Chapters Round 2 LOI Review + Decision Announcement 7/2/2021
- Chapters Trainings and Lab (Round 2) 7/7-7/9/2021
- Chapter Payments Made (Round 2) 7/12-7/23/2021
- Chapters Mutual Aid Lab (Round 2) 7/12-7/23/2021
- Chapter Budgets Submitted for Approval (Round 2) 7/12-7/23/2021
- Chapters Mutual Aid Projects (Round 2) 7/19-8/1/21
- Chapters Round 2 Reflection and Post Surveys Due 7/21-8/13/2021
- Chapters Round 3 Info Session 9/16/2021
- Chapter Round 3 Request for Letters of Interest Opens 9/16/2021
- Chapters Round 3 LOI Review + Decision Announcement 9/30/2021
- Chapters Trainings (Round 3) 10/6/-10/8/2021
- Chapters Labs (Round 3) 10/11-10/22/2021
- Chapter Budgets Submitted for Approval & Payments Made (Round 3) 10/11-10/22/21
- Chapters Mutual Aid Projects (Round 3) 10/18-10/31/21
- Chapters Round 3 Reflection and Post Surveys Due 10/21-11/5/2021