Clevelanders have pledged $23,000 of their forthcoming stimulus checks to area nonprofits and other causes, says Rebecca Maurer, a local attorney who launched a website to build momentum for giving back during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It may not feel like one person's donation will make much of a difference," the site reads, "but let's see how much we can raise together."
Maurer, known locally for the SerialLand blog
and her work with the CLASH coalition
, told Scene that she felt fortunate to have kept her job, with income unchanged, during the pandemic. She said she and many of her friends felt that they should be putting their stimulus money back into the community.
"We had a fear that people who could still cover their usual bills and had stable jobs would see the stimulus as a windfall and perhaps tuck the money away," she said. "That's the opposite of what we should doing right now."
—does not collect money or direct funds to local charities itself. It is merely a place to join with others who are making a commitment to put their stimulus dollars back into the local economy.
The site offers some suggestions for potential recipients—the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, the Cleveland Tip Jar, the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition and the Domestic Violence Child Advocacy Center—but Maurer said that people should make their own choices about where they'd like to give back.
"It doesn't even have to be fully charitable either," she said. "I think spending money at local businesses is incredibly valuable too."
Maurer herself has pledged her stimulus check and said that the bulk of her money was going to University Settlement, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, and the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition. But she also bought a pair of earrings from the Gordon Square jewelry shop Oceanne.
"I started Cleveland Stimulus Pledge so that folks knew that if they dedicated some or all of their check to the local economy, they weren't alone," she said. "We may feel more alone in our houses these days, but we're not alone in taking this step to support our region."
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