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COVID-19 - FGLI Carleton Student Donations

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We are organizing to provide financial emergency funding in order to directly and effectively support our most vulnerable students that have been displaced, impacted, and are in socioeconomic turmoil. This is imperative at a time where the college will not loosen its spring break work policies nor provide immediate relief to students disproportionately impacted by this crisis and the college’s decisions. We have been inspired by the many mutual aid funds and examples of community support proliferating in this time of crisis. This is a time to find resiliency and strength within our community and make our collective care felt. While we are all experiencing change and uncertainty at this time, we are hopeful that Carleton students, families and alumni with access to resources at this time can support the members of our community most impacted by this crisis.


On Thursday, March 12, 2020, Carleton College President Steve Poskanzer delivered Carleton’s response to COVID-19. In that response, Students were mandated to evacuate campus no later than Wednesday, March 18th. For those students unable to return home, a petition form was made to be filled out by those with circumstances requiring them to stay on-campus. However, such a petition had limited housing spaces available on campus, leaving a number of students dealing with various limitations. These limitations include but are not limited to housing insecurity, citizenship status, abusive homes, food insecurity, etc. Despite Carleton’s necessary decision to protect the health of both the Carleton community and Northfield, it has left first-generation, undocumented, low-income, international, or any combination of this list to encumber high levels of anguish and disempowerment. These burdens are linked to their unemployment status and inability to financially sustain themselves and their families in addition to the high financial and emotional cost of online learning as marginalized students. 

 Carleton also declared an added extension of one-week to our scheduled spring break to accommodate our campus’s transition to remote online learning, which will begin April 6th, 2020. However, Carleton’s student employment policy over break requires students to be physically present on campus even in the midst of a global pandemic. Thus, rendering displaced vulnerable students with little to no resources. More information here. 


Mutual Aid Project: 

First and foremost, this direct aid project is not endorsed or managed by Carleton College - this campaign is a product of and for first-generation, low-income students. 

While we support the college's efforts to support first-generation, low-income students, we also acknowledge the limitations of some of these institutional pathways. Community member Shalin Carranza has continuously inquired about the emergency fund process being changed at a time of a crisis with no answers. This lack of transparency is frustrating. Additionally, The emergency fund through the Dean of Students’ Office has a strict monetary cap of $250. Such a cap fails to account for how $250 is nowhere near enough to support or alleviate our most vulnerable community members during this global crisis. Also, to receive emergency funding you have to write a “detailed description of your emergency,” which is a burden for most students having to disclose that sensitive information. Carleton released answers to FAQ on their COVID-19 FAQ page (here). A community member asked, “will my financial aid change since I’m not on campus?” Carleton’s response was a hard no. Financial aid will “not be adjusted” despite knowing “that families still incur costs when a student is at home, as well as unexpected expense to get home.” In response to that blatant understatement, our objective with this project is to directly place the necessary funds into the pockets of high-need, at-risk students. We also accept any discontent or criticism such a project will invoke given that we are not officially working with the college but rather working as student organizers. However, this project is dire no matter the scrutiny. While we hope to collaborate with the college in the future to better serve its students' needs, we strongly hold that grassroots-organized, need-based relief is vital to mitigating the harmful impacts of COVID-19. To accomplish this effort, we will be reaching out to financially able community members, students, and alumni concerned with the socioeconomic wellbeing of at-risk students and asking them to donate. There will also be an attempt to collaborate with the Dean of Students Office, if possible, but please note that this collaboration is not a requirement to accomplish our goal. 

Who We Are
Ale Cota is a current Carleton sophomore, class of 2022, and a student-at-large organizer of this fundraiser. 

Shalin Carranza is a current Carleton senior, class of 2020, and a student-at-large organizer of this fundraiser. 

Caro Carty is a current Carleton senior, class of 2020, and a student-at-large organizer of this fundraiser. 

Action Plan

We, Caro Carty ('20 ), Shalin Carranza ('20), and Ale Cota ('22) have coordinated an email & social media campaign to crowd-source as many donations as possible to at-risk students. We created a google form asking for in-need students to provide their name, email address, class year, donation platform, and level of need on a 1-3 scale (more on that tiered system can be found below). Please note, that no disclosure of what or why a student is in need is required.

A link to this google form can be found here 

1. Above all else, it is our intention to help at-risk students prepare for indefinite unemployment and its consequences. Therefore, we ask everyone who comes across this campaign to take into consideration both current and impending financial instability.

2. The goal of this project is to directly distribute resources into the pockets of those who find themselves most at-risk and uncertain of their financial situation due to Carleton closing and extension of spring break. Many of us are in situations where we need to financially support our families or loved ones. The needs of our student body vary, and, for this reason, we are of the belief that direct financial donations are the most effective way to support FGLI students. 

3. We aim to keep this exchange between at-risk students and kind-hearted, able members of our community as equitable, efficient, and stress-free as possible.  

These are our values and we hope that as a community we can uphold them as well as uplift our FGLI students. 


March 18th: Carleton closed campus to students, including those whose petitions to remain on campus were denied

March 20th:  GoFundMe is live. Email and publicity campaign starts. 


March 21: Carleton Student Association (CSA) Senate convenes from 12 pm - 2 pm (PST) to discuss the proposal and possible redistribution of institutional resources

March 27-30th: First round of funds distributed, with funds distributed every five days following this initial transfer.

April 1st & Beyond: Funds will continue to be distributed & updates will be routinely made to the GoFundMe. 

Tiered Redistribution System:

Level 1:  students request immediate financial assistance to cover relocation and travel fees. It is our goal to offer $1000 to these students in the initial round of transfers by April 1st. 

Level 2: students expressed the need for short term financial assistance to cover bills and groceries, as well as longer-term uncertainty about their future financial stability. It is our goal to offer these students an initial $1000 followed by an additional $1000 in installments until May 1st.

Level 3: students request immediate and sustained financial support. It is our goal to offer these students an initial $1,000 in the first round of distribution and an additional $2,000 in installments until May 1st or until Funds last for a total of $3000.

Are Donations Tax Deductible? 
Currently, donations are not tax-deductible.

Distribution Process: 

Although a direct donation process by listing people's contact information would have been effective, it places FGLI student's private information at risk. Therefore, we are pooling and then redistributing the process in a transparent and equitable manner. 

To ensure the security of FGLI students and this project's transparency, the person responsible for the redistribution of funds will be  Ale Cota ('22), one of the co-organizers of the project. Ale (They/Them pronouns) is a FGLI student who they and their family are facing significant income loss and inability to financially sustain themselves with two immunocompromised parents. Their father despite his pre-existing health complications is still working while their mother has been laid off with no health insurance or benefits. Thus, they understand first-hand the financial obstacles that fellow FGLI students are undergoing through this crisis. As such, Ale promises to distribute the funds transparently and equitably. The funds from the project will go into Ale's bank account. Once the deposit is complete, the funds will be redistributed through forms of checks and will reach out to students through the information inputted from the Google form. Once the identity of the student is verified, then the transaction will occur. If a check is causing unforeseen complications for a student then the transaction will happen over Zelle, Paypal, Cashapp, or Venmo. Ale will also continuously upload a verified copy of their bank statement to ensure transparency on transactions and movement of funds. This is a process that student-led associations at peer institutions have utilized and has been shown to be effective and trustworthy.

In short, donations will be spent by placing them directly into the financial accounts of those students identifying as at-risk students. 

Any questions, comments or concerns feel free to reach out to either Caro Carty ([email redacted]), Shalin Carranza ([email redacted]), or Ale Cota ([email redacted]

Other Funds and Mutual Aid to Consider for Immediate Assistance

The WFPC mutual aid fund centers young women and trans & non-binary folks, specifically those who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), queer, and/or part of the disability community. 

Spectrum offers students free internet access 

Carleton’s Temporary Housing Request Form [created by Shalin Carranza '20 & Anna Schumaker '21] 

$200 Cash Relief Application from Scholly 

Students fly free with Frontier 

Twitter thread on how to support undocumented folx

 GoFundMe Giving Guarantee

This fundraiser mentions donating through another platform, but please know that only donations made on GoFundMe are protected by the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.



  • Ann Bakkensen
    • $25 
    • 4 yrs
  • Lilly Hummel
    • $25 
    • 4 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $5 
    • 4 yrs
  • Jane Ward
    • $75 
    • 4 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 4 yrs

Fundraising team: Concerned Carleton Students (2)

Ale Cota
Northfield, MN
Caro Carty
Team member

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