MicroCash Grant COVID-19 Data

Data on 27,000+ current and former foster youth who applied for MicroCash grants during the COVID-19 pandemic.



Current and former foster youth impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic


The challenges facing current and former foster youth in 2020 were urgent and critical. Traditional interventions could not provide timely and direct support to mitigate this crisis.

Conditions of Systems Change

more info
Resource Flows
Power Dynamics
Relationships + Connections
Mental Models

The Challenge

Current and former foster youth carried a devastating burden of the social and economic consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Existing barriers to housing, educational progress, financial stability, supportive connections and mental health were raised even higher. Think of Us received thousands of reports of youth becoming homeless on their 18th birthday - being dropped off at homeless shelters or couch surfing. The slow-moving and fragmented response of traditional child welfare and nonprofit systems could not meet the urgency or volume of need.

The Action

Think of Us partnered with Together We Rise to distribute MicroCash grants of up to $1,000 to current and former foster youth, providing direct and immediate assistance to help meet basic needs. We asked youth about their greatest need to better understand the individual and collective impact of COVID-19 on foster youth. We’ve used this data to strategically launch projects engaging areas of greatest need, inform policy at state and federal levels and demonstrate a new approach to disaster response.

The Stats

  • 27,342 current and former foster youth respondents
  • Respondents represented all U.S. states, D.C., and Puerto Rico

The Results

  • 43% reported COVID-19 having a negative impact on their living situation
  • 72% were in a a money situation that would be stable for no more than 1 month
  • 21% were in financial crisis
  • 67% reported that COVID-19 had a major impact on their educational progress or attainment
  • 56% reported clinically-significant levels of depression or anxiety
  • 33% wishing they had connections with more people to help them

Centering Lived Experience

  • The MicroCash grant application was designed to gather understanding of the critical needs of foster youth, effects of the pandemic, and demographic information

Key Stakeholders

  • #StartSmall - Funder
  • Together We Rise - Funded and distributed grants
  • EconOne - Data science and analysis
  • University of Pennsylvania - Data analysis
  • Dr. Angelique Day - Data analysis on educational impacts

Geographic Location


Time Frame

October - November 2020



Earned Revenue
Government Contract



Related projects

Away From Home

An in-depth report on the experiences and perspectives of young people who have recently lived in institutional placements in foster care.


Check for Us: National Outreach Campaign

A nation-wide and state-specific outreach campaign to find and connect former foster youth with COVID-19 relief funding.