The Oregon Worker Relief Fund was the only safety net many Oregon farmworkers and immigrants had during the pandemic, which hit their communities especially hard.

Two funds managed and distributed by a coalition of human rights organizations have distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to communities in need. But perhaps their biggest impact, coalition members say, is the infrastructure the funds have created to mobilize for vulnerable communities.

The Oregon Worker Relief Fund and the Climate Change Fund were both borne from disaster. The former was created to help undocumented Oregon workers who faced financial hardship due to the pandemic but were not eligible for other forms of assistance like stimulus checks or unemployment insurance. The latter is intended to supplement income lost due to extreme weather like heat and wildfire smoke.

While the coalition is looking back on its impact so far, it also is thinking about how to leverage this new infrastructure to keep helping vulnerable Oregonians for years to come.

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