Colwal Fund (English)


Colwal Fund for Excluded Workers

As the pandemic continues, so does Adelante’s commitment to mutual aid. We believe in mutual aid—by lending each other a hand, we can support our community through this crisis.

That’s why we’ve reopened our Colwal Fund, which will continue to provide direct support in the form of a one-time cash grant to eligible low-wage workers in the Birmingham area who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, yet excluded from government relief programs. Colwal means “help or support” in Q’anjob’al, one of several indigenous languages spoken by Adelante’s members. Through mutual aid and community support, we hope to continue empowering and uplifting some of the most vulnerable in our communities.

Applications closed.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Where does the name of the fund come from?

The word “Colwal” comes from the Guatemalan indigenous language Q’anjob’al and means “help” or “support”. At Adelante, we believe in mutual aid—by lending each other a hand, we can support our community through this crisis.

What impact will this have on Birmingham residents?

This fund will provide financial relief to some of Birmingham’s most vulnerable families.

  • Will help put food on the table
  • Pay the rent or utility bills of someone who is struggling because their hours were reduced or, they were laid off or furloughed
  • Keep small, family-run businesses open or help those who are self-employed

How much will you award per person?

Those who qualify will receive a one-time payment of $500.

Where does your funding come from?

  • Individual Donors – We’re asking individuals who receive a stimulus check but have not suffered adverse economic consequences from COVID-19 to redistribute their check and other funds (gas, going out) they have saved.
  • Foundation Grants
  • Organizational Donors

How long will you accept donations?

  • We will accept donations as long as need exists and funds are available. To continue to support workers throughout the year, you can also sign-up to be a recurring donor to Adelante by clicking here.

How can I apply for assistance?

  • Please fill out this short eligibility survey:
  • If you qualify, an organizer will reach out to you as soon as possible to fill out the complete application together.
  • We will continue accepting applications/dispensing funds as long as funds are available.

Who is eligible to apply for assistance? Who is not eligible?

  • In order to be eligible to receive a grant through the fund, an applicant must meet the following criteria:
    • Lives in the Birmingham metro area (Jefferson and Shelby Counties)
    • Is a low-wage worker or unemployed
    • Must be 18 or older
    • Has lost their job, had their wages or hours reduced, or is experiencing other serious adverse economic effects due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Members of Adelante’s Staff, Board of Directors, and the Selection Committee, and their immediate family members (parents, spouses, and children), are not eligible to apply.

In the event that demand for support from the fund exceeds available funds, we will prioritize eligible applicants who meet one or more of the following priorities for funding:

  • Hourly workers without paid time off or health benefits
  • Workers in high-risk industries and industries with minimal workplace protections—including restaurants and food services, day labor, domestic workers, commercial cleaning, manufacturing, delivery, grocery and retail
  • Active members of Adelante and others engaged in organizing in their community for labor, civil, and human rights
  • Historically excluded and oppressed populations: people of color, LGBTQ, disabled, undocumented
  • Have not received emergency COVID-19 relief funding from other sources (e.g., NDWA Coronavirus Care Fund)
  • Tested positive for or diagnosed with COVID-19, or shares a home with someone else who has
  • At higher risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19 due to age or preexisting medical conditions
  • Supporting multiple dependents
  • Experiencing housing and/or food insecurity, and other instances of extreme economic need

Individuals who have received COVID-specific government relief or other forms of state and federal assistance (e.g., CARES Act stimulus payment, unemployment, WIC, food stamps, SSI) are eligible to apply. We will ask about your total income from all sources as part of the application process, and may take this information into account in selecting grant recipients

Who chooses who receives funds?

  • Once someone has applied, our Selection Committee composed of members of Adelante’s organization, Board of Directors, and staff will evaluate the applications and determine if someone is eligible, based on the criteria listed above.
  • As long as funds are available, the Selection Committee will meet periodically and dispense awards on a rolling basis. They will begin reviewing applications on August 11.

Who can I contact if I have questions about the fund?

  • For questions about the fund, please contact Adelante at (205) 317-1481,, or send us a message on Facebook @adelantealabama.

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