The Long and the Short of Emergency Cash Grants

Author: Leigh Lynes

A few donors have for years employed small personal gifts as a charitable tool. Now many others are experimenting with the same technique among a new population--those laid off in our virus lockdown. 

What sorts of results should philanthropists expect from immediate cash infusions? 

In hopes of uncovering important touchstones, Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) has been methodically tracking current efforts in personal cash assistance. We know relatively little about the details of emergency aid, says LEO director Heather Reynolds. “Is $500 enough? Is it $1,000, or $2,000?” Which populations are the best candidates? Are there circumstances where aid can be counterproductive? 

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