Giving Compass' Take:

• Mutual aid ideas and practices are happening all over the United States using shared Google docs of contacts, resources, and information on how to help the most vulnerable populations during coronavirus. 

• What are some of the challenges of mutual aid? How can donors help expand the efforts of mutual aid projects? 

• Learn about the People's Bailout fund. 

It’s been replicating like crazy over the past couple of weeks, spreading from person to person, city to city, country to country.

The coronavirus, yes — but also the mutual aid meant to combat it.

By this point, many of you may have seen the Google Docs, Google Forms, and other spreadsheets circulating online with the words “mutual aid” in the title. That’s a fancy way of saying we should all help each other get through this pandemic, giving what we can to neighbors and strangers alike. In these shared documents, thousands of people are jotting down their contact information and offering to do just that.

In just a couple of weeks, such a vast profusion of spreadsheets has sprung up that some organizers have created meta-spreadsheets meant to compile them in one place. One such monster list contains links to more than 140 mutual aid groups spanning many US states, plus additional links for groups in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

Mutual aid centers around the idea that we should all share with each other reciprocally and that we can help meet one another’s needs in a self-directed, grassroots way, rather than relying exclusively on top-down government solutions that may come too slowly, or fail to offer adequate support to the most vulnerable people.

For communities that already felt neglected prior to the coronavirus — especially people of color and disabled, LGBTQ, and low-income people — there may be an extra layer of fear around relying solely on the government to deliver what’s needed during this pandemic. So it makes sense that we’re seeing a wellspring of mutual aid groups devoted to meeting the needs of these particular groups, such as immunocompromised people.

Read the full article about mutual aid funds by Sigal Samuel at Vox.