The Essential Fund

The Essential Fund is no longer accepting applications.

Puede encontrar más informaciĂłn sobre el Fondo Esencial en español aquĂ­.


The systemic shocks resulting from COVID-19 have revealed the all-too-invisible essential services provided by Latino and Latin American immigrant workers across the country: from cultivating, processing, driving, stocking, and delivering food to our tables to caring, serving and otherwise ensuring the day-to-day operation of our homes, hospitals, schools, hotels, construction sites and clinics. The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened the economic and social disparities already impacting our Latino and immigrant communities—made up of mixed-status, undocumented, and multi-generational families. With over 84% unable to telework, Latino workers as well as their children and elders are among those most vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. Immigrant workers, especially the undocumented, disproportionately lack protections in the workplace, access to safety net programs, and unemployment insurance even though they pay taxes and have a purchasing power of $1.5 trillion. Sadly, Latino essential workers disproportionately occupy the country’s 10 lowest-paying jobs, and are acutely vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, losing jobs and receiving pay cuts, and suffering from hunger and lack of access to preventive health resources.

Our communities stand at the brink of economic, health and social devastation, yet across the country there are countless community leaders and organizations actively providing the first line of defense, building power and leadership in our communities, and ensuring our essential workers are safe and supported.

As one of those leaders, we invite you to read more about The Essential Fund and submit a proposal.

About the Essential Fund

HIP’s Essential Fund is designed to support Latino-led and Latino-serving organizations across the United States with close ties to the community in their efforts to provide much-needed COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts, including resourcing workers and their communities with cash, food and rental assistance, PPE and cleaning/disinfectant supply kits, child care, critical information and other resources needed to help protect workers and their families, including the tools and leadership needed to continue providing essential services for our country.

Funding Priorities and Selection Criteria

Priority will be given to organizations with deep and trusted ties to the communities in which they operate and who have the ability to support–in the form of cash assistance–individuals and families most in need, with the goal of continually building power in our communities.

The ideal partners include organizations with the following profiles:

  • Latino-led and Latino-serving organizations with close community ties or organizing base and services;
  • Ability to provide direct cash (or rental, food, transportation, and other financial) assistance to clients, families, and all community members, including but not limited to LGBTQI+, non-English speakers, people with disabilities, and any legal status;
  • Connections to systems that work closely with workers, families, youth, and other community members, including (but not limited to):
    • School systems (i.e. ongoing DACA clinics and social services to undocumented students);
    • Day labor and worker centers;
    • Health, housing, and social services clinics;
    • Workforce development programs;
    • Churches and other faith based groups; and
    • Shelters, soup kitchens, and food hubs
  • Actively engaged in rapid response through existing social services provision and movement and power-building (including promotoras and community organizers)
  • Legal services organizations that act as trusted intermediaries, particularly most recently where legal relief has diminished and work authorization is challenging to obtain
  • Coordinate and support networks of local or grassroots organizations
  • Latino or local community and women’s foundations working in partnership with relevant organizations
What the Fund Supports

Grantee partners are expected to use funding for cash or other assistance to directly support clients and community members who have suffered financial setbacks due to the impacts of COVID-19. Funds may also be used to help offset the costs of administering these programs, including outreach and education.

Clients and community members may use the grant to address COVID-19-related needs that enable them to continue working, including but not limited to:

  • personal protection equipment (PPE) and cleaning/disinfectant supply kits
  • cash, rental, transportation, and utilities assistance
  • child and family care
  • food and personal care products
  • health care and information
Fund and Grant Amounts

The Fund will award a minimum $1.6M USD. Grants awards will range from $10,000 USD to $50,000 USD based on track record of service provision, scale of work, and financial need of clients and families served.

Projected Timeline for Current Round of Grants
How to Apply

In light of the ongoing need for rapid response to requests, only online applications will be accepted.  We will only be able to respond to those organizations that meet the funding priorities and criteria, and submit complete applications.

The online grant application can be found at here.

Required Attachments 
  • A copy of the original IRS determination letter, indicating 501(c) (3) tax-exempt status, including federal identification number.
  • If using a fiscal sponsor, submit a letter on the fiscal sponsor’s letterhead that describes agreement
  • Project budget (HIP’s template may be used)

Additional information may be requested at a later date.

Questions? Please email the HIP team at You can also watch the recording of our webinar covering FAQs on applying for this fund here. 

Thank you for all the work you do to empower our essential workers.