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A COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

April 1, 2020

Dear Yoga Alliance Schools and Teachers,

The economic devastation in the wake of COVID-19 is expected to have significant, negative global impacts. While we recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is a major stressor for everyone and is hurting communities everywhere, we know that these economic impacts disproportionately affect small businesses and individuals whose income depends on in-person engagement. Further, we also understand that these and all of the negative impacts are magnified among the most vulnerable.

We have heard from many of you about the challenges you are experiencing as a result of this crisis, and we thank you for sharing your most pressing needs at this time. We have been listening intently to these conversations to best understand how to best support you at this time.

Much of what we see and hear is about the toll the coronavirus and COVID-19 are taking on those in greatest need. In response, the Yoga Alliance Foundation (YAF) is establishing an emergency relief fund to support those within the yoga community who are hardest hit by COVID-19. YAF had been planning an ambitious inaugural grants program for 2020, which was set to launch in late March; however, the community’s immediate, urgent needs are clear. Therefore, one hundred percent of those funds will now be redirected towards this necessary imperative.

In order to expedite the disbursement of funds, the Yoga Alliance Foundation will partner with at least two organizations that specialize in swiftly taking in and assessing grant applications and awarding and disbursing those grants responsibly and quickly.

  • The Yoga Alliance Foundation will contribute funding to support yoga professionals through the Reclamation Ventures Wellness Relief Fund. For information on this resource and eligibility, visit the Reclamation Ventures website.
  • The Foundation is in the process of identifying additional partners to administer funds to deserving populations beyond those supported by Reclamation Ventures. Details are forthcoming about these partners and their application processes.

The Yoga Alliance Foundation will be guided in this work by a newly formed advisory committee that will inform the criteria for selection of beneficiaries and will help the Foundation ensure a community-centered and equitable approach to the distribution of funding.

We are working now to select experienced funding partners and to develop a secure donation mechanism that will allow interested parties to directly contribute to the relief fund. We will update you with more information on how to apply to or contribute to this fund over the next few weeks. In the interim, please email us at foundation@yogaalliance.org if you have any questions or would like additional information.




How this Fits into the Bigger Picture of Yoga Alliance’s COVID-19 Response

This emergency relief 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 support physical distancing and allow 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; options for member dues relief; and virtual gatherings to maintain community and connectedness in a time of stress and physical isolation.

In addition, Yoga Alliance has shared information with its members in the United States on updated legislation as it pertains to small businesses and independent contractors. We also continue to advocate at all levels of the US federal and state governments on behalf of our members’ needs.

Our intention is for our evolving response to support you through the COVID-19 pandemic to reflect a community-centered approach, such as the journey that resulted in our Ethical Commitment and our position on equity shared in late February. As we work to understand the best ways to support our member community, we will continue to lean into a practice of deep and intentional listening. We recognize your needs will continue to evolve during this time of financial insecurity and general uncertainty and will continue working to be responsive to the most critical needs of the community.

Please continue to share your concerns and needs as well as feedback on how we can better serve you in this work by contacting us at 1-888-921-YOGA (9642) or at info@yogaalliance.org. We are in this together. Thank you for the work that you do for your communities—always, and especially now in these difficult times.

Your Yoga Alliance

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