Female FamTech Founders Come Together During COVID-19
In this great Forbes story, author Mary Beth Ferrante explores how female founders are supporting their teams, and their families, during these uncertain times. Read the full article here, excerpt below.
Last year, I joined an incredible collaborative of female founders all changing the ways we support families. Almost the entire group is mothers or caregivers, most of us started our businesses, non-profits, and projects because of the lack of support in our own experiences.
In her truly collaborative nature, the founder of this collective, Amy Henderson, CEO of TendLab reached out to me, at WRK/360 and Lori Mihalich-Levin, at Mindful Return, to pull together this practical and tangible list of 'Best Practices' and an ‘Action Plan Template’ caregivers and their employers can implement to foster honest and productive working arrangements during this unprecedented time.
But she didn’t stop there. Henderson reached out to all of the founders across our self-dubbed FamTech collective to find out what all of our businesses together were doing to support families during the COVID-19 crisis.
“As daycares and schools close, older adults face scary consequences, and some counties enact strict quarantines, I knew the founders in our collaborative were mobilizing to create solutions for caregivers. When I reached out to learn about everyone’s efforts, I saw how we were collectively creating a safety net for working families and their employers.”
Here is how our collaborative is responding to this crisis:
Katie Bethell, the founder of PL+US, an advocacy organization working to win paid leave in the US (because we are the ONLY industrialized nation in the world without it!) is pushing hard on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes the following: free testing for COVID-19; 14 days paid emergency sick leave; 3 months paid family and medical leave; expanded unemployment insurance & food security; and additional Medicaid money. This bill just passed in the house and you can sign PL+US’s petition to help get it through the senate!
For Employers and Working Parents
If you are under quarantine or ill, or caring for someone who is, and you need to file for short term disability or paid family leave you should encourage your employer to offer Deborah Hanus's Sparrow as an employee benefit to handle this daunting process for you.
Cleo is hosting live and on-demand webinars and chats open to parents (such as Working Families in the Time of COVID-19) and employers (such as Practical Tips for Your Workforce)
For Health Care Providers:
Melissa Hanna at Mahmee is also offering free access and free onboarding assistance to their maternal and infant care coordination platform to all physicians, specialists, and allied health professionals in the field who need to quickly transition their in-office and in-home care to virtual e-visits, video chat support groups, and secure messaging.
For Those Who Need Care:
Henderson’s co-leader of our collaborative, Lynn Perkins, the founding CEO of Urban Sitter, is offering a free two-month membership for families who want to use Urban Sitter for in-home childcare and/or elder companion care. She is also partnering with companies who want to subsidize the cost of this back-up-care for their employees. *Note: Urban Sitter’s platform will allow you to upload people in your own community—like uncles, older siblings home from college, etc.—who could benefit from earning money by caring for your family members and enable you to follow strict social distancing requirements by limiting your engagements to those with whom you are already in close contact. Strictly through employers, Kasey Edwards at Helpr has a similar offering (now with an expedited onboarding process).
Because of the social distancing requirements, the founders of the cooperative childcare platform Wana/Komae (Erin Beck and Amy Husted), have requested that individuals not use their services at this time. However, they recognize that some families cannot go without childcare and are offering free care credits to any families critically in need of care with safe care guidelines like buddying up with a single family.
For parents needing activities to occupy their children at home.
School closures have triggered a whole new world in which parents suddenly have to work, care for their children, and homeschool their children simultaneously.
Missy Narula, founder of Exhale Parent, is creating a free platform to crowdsource and share schedules and activities for homeschooling kids.
Manisha Shah of Playfully, an educational app targeting the parents of 0-3 year olds, is offering free access to all of their premium content, which includes hundreds of simple, fun activity ideas, as well as video-based classes and a catalog of activities to promote any area of your child’s growth and development.
Avni Patel Thompson’s Modern Village created a central hub for all of the prep lists, activity resources and practical suggestions pouring in from her user community that we can all use to get through the coming months.
For expectant, aspiring and new parents:
Allison Kasirer, the founder of Robyn, is working to cut through the misinformation on COVID-19 by providing up-to-date, expert information on how the virus might affect aspiring and expecting parents. And so is Dr. Aviva Romm.
Heather Ainsworth, of Workable Concept, has created this resource for the American Association of Retired People to support those who are working from home while also caring for the elderly/sick members of their family.
Sehreen NoorAli and Alex Leeds of Visible Health are offering to collect and share advice via their online survey about how parents of children with special needs are coping with a pause in therapeutic services.
Henderson calls on all of us to continue to collaborate and push the way we support families in this country. She’s currently working with the Springbank collective to help scale our SF-Based collaborative to other regions and connect with founders (of all genders, not just women!) in New York, LA, Chicago, Ohio, Vancouver, Denver, Boise and more to learn about their responses, and share what we’re already doing, to address the COVID-19 crisis.
Springbank's vision is to build a coalition of investors, corporations and social sector organizations to support these founders building the critical infrastructure that supports women and all working families. Never has the need for this infrastructure been more evident.
We are stronger together than we are alone.