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 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 Fund, providing support to those throughout the global yoga community who have experienced extreme economic hardship due to COVID-19.

To initiate this fund, the Foundation redirected funds originally earmarked for an inaugural grants program scheduled to launch in early 2020, and then invested additional resources to serve as many yoga professionals as possible.

On June 30, 2020, the Emergency Relief Fund closed to new applications and is now planning for a second phase of assistance, focusing on the intersection of economic recovery and yoga service. We will continue to accept donations, which will be used to support as many Eligible Relief Fund applicants as possible, and then to expand the impact of our next phase of assistance.

We have established a secure donation mechanism that interested parties can use to contribute, and 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 [email protected].

To ensure a thoughtful and community-centered process, the Foundation assembled an Advisory Committee representing a cross-section of perspectives and lived experiences. This committee’s responsibilities included informing the selection criteria of partners, ensuring the criteria for the selection of beneficiaries, and helping to ensure an equitable approach to the distribution of funding.

The Foundation has partnered with other organizations and businesses in the yoga community to expand the base of resources and support, and we welcome others to join us and contribute to this important initiative. All contributions are tax-deductible.

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 contributed 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 our 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.

    Our Partners

    Ivy Child International

    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 Wellness Relief Fund

    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 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 reflects 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 protected]. We are in this together. Thank you for the work that you do for your communities—always, and especially now in these difficult times.