Occupy Sandy Relief NYC Fund

Occupy Sandy Relief NYC is a fund that supports neighbourhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. This has been supported by a coalition of groups who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighbourhood resource distribution. We have fiscal sponsorship from the Alliance for Global Justice, making all contributions to our fund tax-deductible.

Donate to Occupy Sandy

Transparency

We understand the sensitivity around money and other scarce resources in Occupy. We therefore strive for transparency in our processes and expenditures.

Our Funds

Occupy Sandy believes in mutual aid and that community is formed through in-kind donations. We recognize that there is more than one form of capital, the money in this account will be used in the following ways:

  1. Emergency Relief Fund that distributes money to point people at relief sites.
  2. Recovery Projects Fund that provides support to initiatives that help communities recover from Sandy.
  3. Participatory Budget Fund that will be distributed to affected communities and allocated through a “participatory budgeting” process.
  4. Spokescouncil Fund to be budgeted by the Occupy Sandy Project Spokescouncil in a consensus process.

Our allies have also created a fund that focuses solely on supporting recovery efforts in New Jersey.

In the spirit of mutual aid, we are treating money as a tool of last resort—an option to be used only when all other ways of meeting needs (in-kind donations, sharing, barter, etc) have been exhausted. In those circumstances, we provide financial support through the following funds.

1. Emergency Fund

While we strive for community building and sustainability, the reality following Hurricane Sandy’s destruction requires direct aid. Due to the large amount of in-kind support we have received— through the registry and in person—we estimate that we will not be required to use emergency funds in excess of $100,000.

Emergency funds are administered by point people in each region for critical purchases that alleviate suffering and facilitate the effective operation of recovery and relief sites in affected areas. We ask that priority be given to the purchase of local and sustainable products whenever possible. Emergency budgets are determined based on a community needs assessment by those on the ground, and reassessed once a week at meetings that result in documentation posted online.

If you’re at a relief site and need to access the emergency funds, connect with a point person near you. If you can’t find a point person, contact us at occupysandyprojects@gmail.com.

Information for point people

  • Keep track of your expenses using our spreadsheet template OR
  • Download a printable sheet to record your expenses
  • Send us your filled out sheets by emailing us at occupysandyprojects@gmail.com, or submit your filled out sheets in-person during weekly regional check-in meetings.

2. Recovery Projects

The main purpose of the incubation team is to act as an incubator for recovery and rebuilding projects, whereby we connect the extensive network of resources available with community needs. Our intention is to provide a network of support that empowers projects to operate autonomously.

The project process is as follows: an individual (on-the-ground organizer or resident) submits a regional recovery/rebuilding project to the incubation team. The incubation team ensures that the project will be managed by at least one committed bottom-lining member of the community, that there is community buy-in for the project, and that the project has been mapped out with a concrete needs assessment and timeline.

Once a project has been approved, the incubation team then works to make sure that the needs of this project are being connected with the available resources. This may include accessing lawyers or professionals for advice, creating a location and drop-off site for in-kind donations, opening channels for education and publicizing the effort. The needs and projects are generated by the communities, and the incubation team works with the bottom-liners, connecting projects with resources. After a period of time (specified in the timeline of the proposal) unmet needs specified by the proposal are covered by the fund.

To support networking and ensure community buy-in we ask that each project be endorsed by at least two other individuals who are on the ground in the region. Additionally, we ask that the individual or individuals agreeing to take on this project produce regular documentation of their progress that we then post on the website.

Information for people requesting resources

3. Vision: Local Participatory Budgeting Councils

As life begins to normalize in communities affected by Sandy, the Occupy: Sandy NYC Fund will transition away from support for short-term, emergency needs and into the recovery and rebuilding phase. We plan to use the community organizing infrastructure that was strengthened by the response to Sandy to incubate “participatory budgeting groups” in affected communities. Each group will act as a decision-making body composed of residents and community members who will be empowered to take control of their own resources. We are working with people in NYC who have organized successful participatory budgeting groups in the past to develop this program.

We are prepared to pledge a minimum of $100,000 to incubate participatory budgeting groups in the affected areas and will work with governments, foundations, high-net-worth individuals and others who want to build a substantial fund that affected communities can manage in a participatory way.

Email us if you’re interested in working with a participatory budgeting group.

About Our Team

The Occupy Sandy Incubation team is a group working to connect people engaging in recovery projects with the resources they need. This team includes people with access to many different types of resources, including permaculture specialists, community organizers, financial consultants, techies, artists, alternative economists and fundraisers. Group members include people from OWS Finance, OWS Accounting and the Action Resource Fund.

Together, this network of individuals has access to unquantifiable amounts of resources and creativity, as well as an understanding of the need for community empowerment and fiscal responsibility. Our goal is to support the successful implementation of recovery projects, through the creation of an economy of mutual aid.

In order to best promote the concept of people-power, we have built a living structure that strives to provide equitable access to resources by all. Additionally, we strive for transparency in our processes, documenting efforts and taking feedback from the community.

For general questions, please email us at occupysandyprojects@gmail.com.