May Partner Spotlight: Richmond Rapid Response Fund (R3F)
Community Financial Resources (CFR) welcomes you to our Partner Spotlight series which highlights the amazing work our partners are doing and the impact these partnerships have on the community. Meet this month's spotlight: Richmond Rapid Response Fund (R3F).
The Richmond Rapid Response Fund (R3F) is a wraparound initiative based in Richmond, CA that is meeting the immediate and ongoing needs of the Richmond community during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. R3F focuses on key priority areas including food and essential supplies, economic recovery and security, housing and homelessness, health and healing, education and learning, and social and legal services.
Led by community and government leaders from the City of Richmond, The RYSE Center, West Contra Costa Public Education Fund (EdFUND West), Richmond Promise, and Building Blocks for Kids, the R3F was born from a community-centered process that began the first week of the region-wide shelter in place in March 2020. This process, known as the West Contra Costa COVID Community Care Coalition, engages over 90 cross-sector stakeholders including community partners and non-profits, the City, the School District, the County, local and regional coalitions, and funders.
For R3F, meeting the immediate needs and priorities of the Richmond community is paramount. Naming and transforming the systemic inequities that have created the conditions culminating in this pandemic are tantamount.
About the Partnership
Community Financial Resources (CFR) is the disbursement entity for the direct financial disbursements provided to Richmond residents through R3F. Through our partnership with R3F, ,we work with over a dozen community-based partners that work with residents and families all across Richmond to distribute the funds efficiently and transparently via our financial products.
R3F coalition partners report the following on why they choose to work with CFR in this process:
“When we launched the fund we knew that it would be an administrative challenge to serve all of the residents we wanted without the proper infrastructure. Early in the creation of the fund, we invited CFR to one of our coalition meetings to share how they have partnered with other organizations to provide disbursements to populations they wanted to serve. Through that conversation and answering all the questions our partners had, it became a no brainer to partner with CFR. One of the best parts about the partnership is CFR's ability to provide us data about the use of funds. The data helps us better understand the needs of our community and tell a more complete story about how residents used the funds. There is a misconception that if people were given ‘free’ money they would use it on drugs and alcohol, however, the data allows us to see that folks are paying bills and buying groceries. Another highlight about working with CFR is the ease of use - the system is very well organized and their staff are always available to answer questions and provide additional support when needed.” - EdFUND West
“Our ability to distribute the funds in a timely, clear, and transparent way hinge on the capacity, competency, and integrity of the CFR team. R3F is 6 months old, and has already set practice and precedent for what other local funds can and should do. CFR has been critical to our catalytic work. They have remained present, responsive, and generous in times of acute community distress, always ready to support and strategize. CFR is here for the struggles and the celebrations. That has meaning beyond measure and any metrics of success. Disbursement partners trust the CFR team and are excited for deepened collaboration to cultivate the conditions for economic security and self-determination.” - The RYSE Center
When asked why the economic justice work that CFR does was important to the initiative, R3F coalition partners shared:
“R3F partners, including CFR, understand that our work is to stay proximate, relevant, responsive, and also to reckon, reimagine, and realize the systems we deserve. CFR is an aligned and attentive partner that has not only signed up to our principles and practices, but which actively contributes to the possibilities and necessities of economic justice. They are not a bystander intermediary. They operate in beloved community and kinship. We have seen this firsthand with partners and residents. CFR's experience and expertise in developing and operationalizing credit and wealth building, for residents, families, and entire communities, their commitment to transformational partnership over transactional support, and their care and attention to relationships are just a few reasons why they are important to this initiative.” - The RYSE Center
“CFR is a leader in economic justice work. By partnering with community organizations to drive resources to residents, CFR is helping reshape the narrative around what it means to build towards economic security. Having an intermediary solely focused on economic justice is an asset to our community. Having a thought partner in the field has allowed us to move confidently and swiftly in response to our community.” - EdFUND West
To date, over 750 families and residents have received direct financial disbursements. R3F has reported the distributions are having a real impact on the community:
“Receiving these funds helped me a lot because I wasn't working at the time I applied. The process was simple and I'm so thankful that I was selected to receive assistance.” -Larry H.
Although the pandemic has deepened systemic inequities in our communities, it has also created powerful connections such as those formed through R3F and the West Contra Costa COVID Community Care Coalition. CFR is proud to partner with R3F and share solidarity in this critical work towards healing centered, racially just policies, practices, and investments for long-term community transformation. If you wish to support R3F in this work, you can do so here. You can also learn more about our COVID-19 Response and Recovery Program here.