Erika Lundahl, board co-chair
Launch of Fund to Abolish BIPOC Community Organizers’ Student Loans
October 20, 2020 For Immediate Release: The Community Care Debt Relief Fund is a new crowd-sourced effort to address the economic impacts of COVID and the need for continued investment in communities of color. For The People (FTP), a grassroots organizing collective, and Salish Sea Cooperative Finance (SSCoFi), a cooperative dedicated to refinancing student loans with community capital, have teamed up to create this The Community Care Debt Relief fund.
Community organizing is essential work, but it is often unpaid or underpaid. This, combined with the fact that non-white college students graduate with significantly more debt on average (a Brookings report from 2016 showed that Black students graduated with $7,400 more debt than their white counterparts, and another report from 2019 found that 12 years after graduating, the average white male borrower has paid off 44% of their loan balance, while the average black female borrower has seen their balance grow by an additional 13%), means that community organizers of color are especially impacted by the student debt crisis.
“Organizers of color are leading the way in our communities, building power for the most marginalized.” says Erika Lundahl, Salish Sea Cooperative Finance board co-chair. “I love that my monthly contribution to the Community Care Debt Relief Fund is helping relieve their burden so they can continue to do this essential work.”
The Community Care Debt Relief fund accepts one-time and recurring donations, to provide direct student loan relief to participating BIPOC organizers. At launch, the campaign will support three organizers of color located in the Greater Seattle Area. Additional organizers will be able to apply for support as funding becomes available.
SSCoFi recognized that its traditional model of refinancing loans with community capital would not go far enough to support BIPOC organizers. Inspired by examples of community mutual aid and direct-support networks created during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, SSCoFi reached out to FTP for help in leveraging their experience in facilitating direct support of community organizers’ work.
The campaign welcomes recurring and one-time donations of any amount. The donation form can be reached at https://salishseafinance.coop/community-care-debt-relief/