GIVEN is a direct cash assistance program that supports 5,000 Los Angeles based families during the holiday season of December 2022, built on similar programs in previous years. The program is a collaborative effort with Mayor Karen Bass, the Community Investment for Families Department, and participating FamilySource Centers to support Angelenos with $300 cash cards to supplement their income during the winter season.
Originally launched in December 2020, the GIVEN program started with a goal of helping 10,000 families during the holidays with cash cards for food and essentials. Unlike some federal and local government programs, GIVEN provided assistance with lower barriers to approval to aid in distributing funds quickly through the City’s FamilySource Centers. The Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, with former Mayor Eric Garcetti and City’s FamilySource centers distributed $300 per family to help with groceries and other essential items during the holiday season. Over 10,000 cards were distributed in two months, with recipients spending funds on essentials including 35% in grocery stores.
A year later in November 2021, MFLA launched a second round of GIVEN in partnership with the LA Community Investment for Families Department to distribute an additional 5,000+ cards to families in need during the holiday season. The program continued to focus on low-income families with $300 cash-cards to provide assistance with groceries and other essential items during the holidays. In total, almost 5,000 cards were again distributed in partnership with the City’s sixteen FamilySource Centers. Excluding cash withdrawals which can not be categorized, at least 79% of funds were spent at businesses specializing in essential items such as food and drug stores.
In order to qualify for the GIVEN program, families had to meet the following three conditions:
- Reside in the City of Los Angeles
- Have a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income or roughly $57,000/year
- Demonstrate hardship through suffered illness, loss of employment or some other negative factor due to the COVID-19 pandemic