THRIVE: A Field Guide for Nonprofits Interested in Providing Cash Relief

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US, four nonprofit organizations in Washington, DC, partnered to provide direct cash payments and grocery assistance to more than 500 households. The recipients lived in DC’s Ward 8, where most of the residents are Black and one-third have incomes below the federal poverty level. This collaboration, Thrive East of the River (THRIVE), provided each recipient with $5,500, the largest privately funded lump sum of emergency cash relief ever offered in the US as of 2020.

The Urban Institute documented the emergency intervention’s effectiveness and gathered data to inform ongoing program design and management. This field guide uses THRIVE as a case study to provide insights and tools relevant to any organization considering using cash transfers to reduce income inequality, help people cope with crises, and advance racial equity.

Topics covered in the field guide: