Greensboro Mutual Aid Fund
IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) Award - Winston-Salem
Nominated by Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, Inc.
The Greensboro Mutual Aid Fund is a network of mutual aid and community groups throughout Guilford County including YWCA Greensboro, Rankin Neighborhood Group, Greensboro Mutual Aid Hub, Glenwood Helping Hands, Southerners on New Ground – Greensboro Chapter, Church of the Holy Spirit, Greensboro Working Class and Houseless Organizing Alliance, Cottage Grove Neighborhood Association, Bhutanese Community, Homeless Union of Greensboro, Northeast Greensboro Mutual Aid, Siembra NC, Greensboro Bail Fund, Fund for Democratic Communities, and the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.
Mutual aid, the notion of “take what you need, give what you can,” is a centuries-old concept from the African American community that highlights the fact that everyone has needs that should be met and everyone has something to offer to help meet someone else’s needs. Mutual aid, in comparison to charity, is not just a transactional exchange, but also a much-needed exercise in being in community with one another. COVID-19 further exacerbated many pre-existing issues in our society and in just a few short months Greensboro Mutual Aid Fund disbursed more than $60,000 in small amounts to people in our community. Individuals were able to receive up to $300 with most receiving $50 to $100 in gift cards or other physical items.
Another key cause for the group was providing face masks. When the news came out that masks would be required for all Greensboro residents, the group reacted quickly, knowing that they represented many groups of people that could be specifically targeted for not wearing a mask and most likely would not have access to masks. Through the connections of Greensboro Mutual Aid Fund, Building Stronger Neighborhoods was able to donate 2,000 masks to the group, which were then dispersed throughout the community.
Since the beginning of Greensboro Mutual Aid Fund’s disbursement of funds into the community, there has been a large outpouring of appreciation from recipients. Instead of ending at a “thank you,” recipients were able to plug back into the work of the Fund driving home the notion that everyone has something that they can give to truly help another person. This has been one of the most important outcomes of the Greensboro Mutual Aid Fund.
"I give because it is the right thing to do. I give because I am Blessed to be able to do so. I give because helping others makes me feel happy. So many people are in need and I do my best to help out others."
- Verna Torain
"I think it is better to have folks who represent our grassroots groups accept the award as they are the people making this work happen. Philanthropy means supporting the causes you care about. I’m passionate about 'Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women and Promoting Peace, Justice, Freedom and Dignity for All.' "
- Lindy Garnett
Pictured top to bottom: Walker Sanders, CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro presents the IDEA Award to Gloria McMasters and Verna Torain. Founding members of the Greensboro Mutual Aid Fund Gloria McMasters, Verna Torain and Lindy Garnett.