Resources for Parents

Wesleyan Parents:

You may love Middletown, you may never have been here before. When your students go here, though, it’s important that they realize they are part of a new town, where they have complete agency to work, shop, civically engage, and even vote.

 

WesNEAT hopes to give your family the tools to live in integration with Middletown, rather than take it for granted. We’ll start by telling the story of one super effective way to get involved: the Middletown Mutual Aid Collective.

Why Mutual Aid?

MMAC horizontal graphic.png
“Mutual aid is people helping people. We have all types of needs: housing, food, medical, emotional, social, and more. We can meet them ourselves.” 
—Middletown Mutual Aid Collective

The Middletown Mutual Aid Collective was formed in April of 2020 by a group of local organizers, some Wesleyan students, and other Middletown residents. Right now, MMAC’s work is centered around two projects: the Middletown Community Fridge and Direct Cash Assistance. Over its 9 months, it has redistributed over 60k of grassroots donations through its Direct Cash Assistance program, and has fed hundreds of North End residents with its round-the-clock community fridge.  

 

Mutual aid is a means of building community solidarity. It is based on principles of give-and-take: we all have something to contribute. Your child should realize that they already gain quite a lot from this community, and in turn, want to give back where and when they can!

 

We therefore believe that participating in mutual aid is one of the most effective ways to actually live in community here, especially when students are only here temporarily.

Why Direct Cash Giving?

If nothing else, cash giving is a means of giving that acknowledges you and your family are pressed for time. It acknowledges that becoming a civically engaged member of a new town is hard work, and giving cash to local people is a strong alternative. 

 

“I might not be there to fight with you, but I will help you fight.” 

 

But this does not do the process of direct cash giving justice, especially when we are talking about a program as strong as Middletown Mutual Aid. Here are some reasons why our direct cash giving program is so important to us, to Middletown, and hopefully to you!

 

  • Experiments with guaranteed income are becoming widely practiced throughout the country, with roots in empirical evidence about improved mental health and stability. Read more here.

  • Our ioby profile was recognized as one of the most successful initiatives on the platform, especially given the small size of our city. This earned us a spot on a mutual aid panel with the Gates Foundation - you’ll be able to watch us there in May! (However, we definitely still know the value in putting money in people’s pockets with or without this honor.)

  • All donations made through our ioby profile are 100% tax deductible. Read more on the ioby platform here.

  • One of the most common concerns about directly putting money in people's pockets is that it will be used to buy drugs, alcohol, junk food, or other things one might consider “vices” or a “waste.” We approach this work informed by principles of harm reduction, which acknowledges that meeting people where they are at can save lives and encourage agency. Read more here.

FAQs about Mutual Aid

Q: I already donate money and volunteer. Why should I give more?

A: Mutual aid quickly and directly takes care of people’s immediate needs; other organizations and nonprofits likely do not have the same impact.

 

Q: Won’t my donations to a large non-profit be used more effectively? 

A: Donations to individuals have a larger impact than the organizations that might look more professional. Because there are no overhead costs for staff or constraints on how the money can be used, donations to mutual aid are much more effective. People in need know how to use their money best and it’s harmful to believe that nonprofit professionals know better.

 

Q: I want to know where my money is going and how it’s being used.

A: Money given to the Middletown Mutual Aid Collective is used for direct cash assistance to Middletown residents. A key component of mutual aid is trusting people in need and supporting them without bureaucratic barriers. The money goes to ioby, a 501(c)(3) that serves as MMAC’s fiscal sponsor. A broad collective of Middletown residents meet weekly to equitably distribute the money based on need and availability.

 

Q: I want to give to people in the community that I live in, not Middletown.

A: Although giving to mutual aid in general is a great idea, it’s important to understand the responsibility Wesleyan families have to redistribute to the Middletown community. Parents send their children to live in Middletown for at least four years, where they attend a university that often negatively impacts the community. Even if your parents redistribute elsewhere, this is one reason to make giving to MMAC a priority.

 

Q: I’ve already donated to Middletown Mutual Aid. Why should I give more?

A: Recurring giving helps mutual aid collectives provide long term support and allows donors to develop a relationship and responsibility to the community.

 

Q: Are my donations to mutual aid tax deductible?

A: The Middletown Mutual Aid Collective accepts donations through ioby, a tax-deductible fundraising site for community organizing. All donations made through ioby are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable. ioby is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization; their EIN is 26-3283639.

Further Reading

&

Watching

 

Wesleyan Parents:

You may love Middletown, you may never have been here before. When your students go here, though, it’s important that they realize they are part of a new town, where they have complete agency to work, shop, civically engage, and even vote.

 

WesNEAT hopes to give your family the tools to live in integration with Middletown, rather than take it for granted. We’ll start by telling the story of one super effective way to get involved: the Middletown Mutual Aid Collective.

Why Mutual Aid?

MMAC horizontal graphic.png
“Mutual aid is people helping people. We have all types of needs: housing, food, medical, emotional, social, and more. We can meet them ourselves.” 
—Middletown Mutual Aid Collective

The Middletown Mutual Aid Collective was formed in April of 2020 by a group of local organizers, some Wesleyan students, and other Middletown residents. Right now, MMAC’s work is centered around two projects: the Middletown Community Fridge and Direct Cash Assistance. Over its 9 months, it has redistributed over 60k of grassroots donations through its Direct Cash Assistance program, and has fed hundreds of North End residents with its round-the-clock community fridge.  

 

Mutual aid is a means of building community solidarity. It is based on principles of give-and-take: we all have something to contribute. Your child should realize that they already gain quite a lot from this community, and in turn, want to give back where and when they can!

 

We therefore believe that participating in mutual aid is one of the most effective ways to actually live in community here, especially when students are only here temporarily.

Why Direct Cash Giving?

If nothing else, cash giving is a means of giving that acknowledges you and your family are pressed for time. It acknowledges that becoming a civically engaged member of a new town is hard work, and giving cash to local people is a strong alternative. 

 

“I might not be there to fight with you, but I will help you fight.” 

 

But this does not do the process of direct cash giving justice, especially when we are talking about a program as strong as Middletown Mutual Aid. Here are some reasons why our direct cash giving program is so important to us, to Middletown, and hopefully to you!

 

  • Experiments with guaranteed income are becoming widely practiced throughout the country, with roots in empirical evidence about improved mental health and stability. Read more here.

  • Our ioby profile was recognized as one of the most successful initiatives on the platform, especially given the small size of our city. This earned us a spot on a mutual aid panel with the Gates Foundation - you’ll be able to watch us there in May! (However, we definitely still know the value in putting money in people’s pockets with or without this honor.)

  • All donations made through our ioby profile are 100% tax deductible. Read more on the ioby platform here.

  • One of the most common concerns about directly putting money in people's pockets is that it will be used to buy drugs, alcohol, junk food, or other things one might consider “vices” or a “waste.” We approach this work informed by principles of harm reduction, which acknowledges that meeting people where they are at can save lives and encourage agency. Read more here.

FAQs about Mutual Aid

Q: I already donate money and volunteer. Why should I give more?

A: Mutual aid quickly and directly takes care of people’s immediate needs; other organizations and nonprofits likely do not have the same impact.

 

Q: Won’t my donations to a large non-profit be used more effectively? 

A: Donations to individuals have a larger impact than the organizations that might look more professional. Because there are no overhead costs for staff or constraints on how the money can be used, donations to mutual aid are much more effective. People in need know how to use their money best and it’s harmful to believe that nonprofit professionals know better.

 

Q: I want to know where my money is going and how it’s being used.

A: Money given to the Middletown Mutual Aid Collective is used for direct cash assistance to Middletown residents. A key component of mutual aid is trusting people in need and supporting them without bureaucratic barriers. The money goes to ioby, a 501(c)(3) that serves as MMAC’s fiscal sponsor. A broad collective of Middletown residents meet weekly to equitably distribute the money based on need and availability.

 

Q: I want to give to people in the community that I live in, not Middletown.

A: Although giving to mutual aid in general is a great idea, it’s important to understand the responsibility Wesleyan families have to redistribute to the Middletown community. Parents send their children to live in Middletown for at least four years, where they attend a university that often negatively impacts the community. Even if your parents redistribute elsewhere, this is one reason to make giving to MMAC a priority.

 

Q: I’ve already donated to Middletown Mutual Aid. Why should I give more?

A: Recurring giving helps mutual aid collectives provide long term support and allows donors to develop a relationship and responsibility to the community.

 

Q: Are my donations to mutual aid tax deductible?

A: The Middletown Mutual Aid Collective accepts donations through ioby, a tax-deductible fundraising site for community organizing. All donations made through ioby are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable. ioby is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization; their EIN is 26-3283639.

Further Reading

&

Watching