The Yoga Alliance Foundation Emergency Relief Fund
The economic devastation caused by COVID-19 is hurting communities everywhere and disproportionately afflicting small businesses and individuals whose income depends on in-person engagement. While we recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is a major stressor for everyone, its negative impacts are felt most deeply amongst the most vulnerable.
In response, the Yoga Alliance Foundation established an Emergency Relief Fund to support those throughout the yoga community who are hardest hit by COVID-19. The Yoga Alliance Foundation Emergency Relief Fund is a global resource available to yoga professionals worldwide.
The application for support opens at 1:30 EDT on May 26. Eligibility requirements and general information on how to apply have been posted here, to provide all applicants with the opportunity to prepare documents for submission. Applicants may access the application here.
To initiate this fund, the Foundation redirected funds originally earmarked for an inaugural grants program scheduled to launch in early 2020. Due to the sudden disruptive economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, 100% of these funds will now go directly to yoga professionals who can no longer meet basic income needs.
We have also established a secure donation mechanism that interested parties can use to contribute to the Emergency Relief Fund. 100% of donations made to this Fund will be passed directly to yoga professionals in need. Organizations interested in pledging support or serving as partners can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To ensure a thoughtful and community-centered process, the Foundation assembled an Advisory Committee that represents a cross-section of perspectives and lived experiences. This committee’s responsibilities include providing included informing the selection criteria of beneficiaries, helping to ensure the criteria for the selection of beneficiaries, helping to ensure an equitable approach to the distribution of funding.
The Foundation is partnering with other organizations and businesses in the yoga community to expand the base of resources and support. We welcome anyone—especially those whose lives have been positively impacted by a yoga teacher or through the practice of yoga itself—to consider helping support teachers’ efforts to continue sharing yoga with others during this time by making a donation or by sharing this information with a friend. All contributions are tax-deductible—and 100 percent will be passed directly to fund recipients.
In order to assess applications and economic need, award recipients, and administer funds objectively, responsively, and swiftly, the Yoga Alliance Foundation teamed up with strategic partner Ivy Child International. The Yoga Alliance Foundation also is a contributor to the Reclamation Ventures Wellness Relief Fund, which provides rapid response to yoga professionals facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
In selecting partners, the Yoga Alliance Foundation prioritized organizations whose work is anchored in yogic values; aligns with the Foundation’s mission of leveraging yoga for social impact; and fosters an expansive, accessible, and equitable yoga community. Foundation partners demonstrate a proven track record of providing financial support to communities and individuals facing monetary hardships, the capacity to execute an equitable and transparent application and disbursement of funding process, and a strong history of financial health.
Ivy Child International, our strategic partner who is administering the Fund, is a global nonprofit that partners with systems of education and care to enhance wellbeing through innovative and culturally responsive programs. In our shared vision to create more ways to support the community, Ivy Child joins forces to broaden and build access, equity and inclusion with its worldwide network of diverse teachers.
Reclamation Ventures, to which the Fund is a contributor, is an impact investing fund that invests in the development and growth of underestimated entrepreneurs in wellness. It believes that in elevating the capacity of diverse wellness leaders to thrive, we can start to close the wellness gap and increase health equities in communities that need it most. It also supports yoga professionals from historically underserved communities in the U.S.
How this fits into the bigger picture of YA’s COVID-19 response:
This emergency relief fund for yoga professionals is one of many actions that Yoga Alliance and the Yoga Alliance Foundation are taking in response to COVID-19. Other responses to member needs include: a temporary provision to allow for more yoga teacher training to move online; tools and guidance to facilitate a shift to virtual training and teaching; online workshops addressing business and professional needs during the crisis; and virtual gatherings to maintain community and connectedness in a time of stress and physical isolation.
In addition, Yoga Alliance has shared information to its members in the United States on updated legislation as it pertains to small businesses and independent contractors. We also continue to advocate externally on behalf of our members’ needs.
Our evolving response to the COVID-19 pandemic reflect the community-led journey that resulted in our Ethical Commitment and our position on equity. Just as these earlier efforts were developed through deep and intentional listening, we are continuing to listen to the evolving, critical needs of the membership and the broader yoga community during this time of financial insecurity and general uncertainty.
Please continue to reach out to us with feedback, questions, and concerns at 1-888-921-YOGA (9642) or at email@example.com. We are in this together. Thank you for the work that you do for your communities—always, and especially now in these difficult times.