The bridge project was born from Nido de Esperanza, a nonprofit that helps low-income mothers in Washington Heights, and was founded by Holly Fogle, the wife of venture capitalist Jeff Lieberman. The couple also run the Monarch Foundation.
Early in the pandemic, Ms Fogle said, Nido’s offices were inundated with desperate calls. “I’ve had moms call me saying, ‘We have no diapers, no money, no prep for this baby, and we’re scared to leave our apartment,'” she recalled.
Nido distributed $150,000 in aid to 100 families, and Ms. Fogle, a former finance student, became a proponent of what she called the “return on investment” of direct aid.
For Maureen Gardner, 35, the Bridge Project happened when she was six months pregnant, not working, and had just learned that the woman she had sublet her apartment to in Harlem had apparently pocketed her paychecks. rent of $1,500.
“When I called the management office they said, ‘We don’t know who you are, we don’t know who this lady is,'” Ms Gardner said. thousands of rent arrears.
Because she receives food stamps for herself and her son, Garrett, who was born in September, and hasn’t paid rent while her lease remains disputed, Ms Gardner was able to save nearly $5,000 through Bridge Project payments.
“When it’s time to go, I’ll have the money to go,” she said.
She also made a purchase that some would consider a luxury but which Mrs. Gardner sees as a way to protect her and Garrett’s health: a $430 washing machine that allows her to skip the laundry room in her apartment building, where many tenants do not wear masks. “My baby doesn’t even have vaccines,” she said.