The United Farm Worker Foundation Provides Relief to Over 120,000 Farm Workers Across the Country With Entidad

Written by:

Elizabeth Melton

2 minutes

The United Farm Worker Foundation, otherwise known as The UFW Foundation, is a nonprofit that advocates for overtime, heat standards, pesticide safeguards, and hazard pay in California, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, and Washington. In those states, the organization targets particularly rural communities, providing educational outreach and immigration services programs to ensure equitable treatment and farm worker empowerment.

As an early adopter of technology, The Foundation serves as a model for other farm worker organizations looking to expand their reach. Working with Entidad at the start of the pandemic, The Foundation launched an application to plan, manage, and operate resource distribution events. Over 48,000 farm workers interacted with the app — a proof point for UFWF’s ability to scale the reach and impact of their teams with technology.

A Big Win Leads to a Seemingly Insurmountable Challenge

In 2022, The Foundation played a major role in acquiring much-needed pandemic relief for farm workers. As a result of the organization’s advocacy efforts, The UFW Foundation was chosen as one of 14 nonprofits to administer the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Food Workers Relief Program (FFWR) — one-time direct payments of $600 to eligible frontline farm workers for expenses incurred due to COVID-19.

Even more notably, The Foundation received the second largest grant of the FFWR relief program: nearly $100M. There was just one problem: they didn’t have the infrastructure and tools to scale their operations nationally.

At the time, The Foundation’s emergency relief app and operations were limited to the states it had been serving for decades. Processing and distributing resources across the remaining states wouldn’t just be a matter of hiring more people. It would be about establishing a comprehensive application that would enable their team to:

  • Accept, review, and approve applications
  • Distribute and report on funds
  • Communicate directly with farm workers
  • Give farm workers insight into their application and payment status

The Foundation leaders knew they couldn’t build this solution on their own, so they contacted a trusted source: Entidad.

Scaling The Foundation’s Capabilities With Technology

Entidad collaborated closely with the UFWF team to develop a set of requirements for a solution that could streamline the representatives’ current workflow and support their soon-to-be much higher volume.

An All-in-One Call Center System

The solution needed to become a call representative’s command center, enabling them to do every single part of their job more efficiently. That meant building in:

  • Eligibility requirements, to automatically confirm proof of identity and employment through a driver’s license or state ID.
  • Application validation rules, to guarantee agents captured all the requisite information on farm worker relief applications.
  • Mailing address verification, to reduce errors and associated costs of re-shipping preloaded gift cards.
  • Document upload capabilities, to make farm workers active participants in the application process.
  • Text or email notifications, to share payment status updates with farm workers, alleviating their stress and reducing call center inquiries.

Most importantly, it needed to be easy for everyone to use. Randy Dominguez, Head of Development & Membership at The UFW Foundation, explains:

“With this system, all farm workers have to do is call us. We start the application, ask them questions, and request that they upload documents through a link we text them. And the upload process has been easy. Once we’re off the phone, farm workers get updates through SMS or email whenever their application hits the next step.”

Fast and Easy Onboarding

Most of The UFWF call center staff was remote and so were their sub-grantees. Normally, this distance would make employee training a challenge.

But Entidad stepped up to the plate. Their Head of Customer Success, Sofia Gago, made sure that leaders like Randy, his team members, and all eight FFWR sub-grantees had all the resources they needed to onboard smoothly:

“Sofia did a great job of compiling how-to videos and instructions for our team and sub-grantees. Those resources have been really helpful in building our own Alivio training library.”

Because of how intuitive the platform and training were, The Foundation didn’t experience any big hurdles in getting folks to use the system. Per Randy:

It was really user-friendly and highly tailored to our workflow. Entidad was very helpful in gathering feedback and implementing any changes we requested.”

Measurable Success

Alivio’s reports and dashboards were designed to show call center progress — key to demonstrating the program's success to internal Foundation leadership and externally to the USDA.

But Alivio’s analytics aren’t just for status reports. The Foundation has identified two other major use cases for the wealth of data in Alivio:

  1. Continued Expansion. There was an unexpectedly high volume in states where The Foundation doesn’t yet have a huge presence, such as Georgia and Indiana, which may indicate the need for more on-the-ground outreach. 
  2. Fundraising Efforts. The Foundation now has proof that investing in technology makes a noticeable difference in their constituents’ lives. And they can use that proof to digitize other UFWF programs and collect more data (outside of the Farm Labor Survey) to show The Foundation — and the federal government — exactly where they should focus their outreach.

As Randy says:

“We still have farm workers in California who haven't applied yet. This helps us show the federal government that the need for relief is still there. That means we need to continue our advocacy efforts to secure more funding.”

The data serves yet another purpose, too: motivation. The Foundation’s caseworkers can actually see how many lives they’ve impacted, driving them to impact even more.

Delivering Much-Needed Services Faster

The Foundation’s advocacy has played a huge role in getting farm workers the compensation they’re owed. And with Entidad’s help, they’re able to deliver it, using technology to get farm workers their payments as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“The pandemic happened years ago, so farm worker relief is long overdue. Finally able to secure federal funding for all farm workers across the country is a huge deal and Entidad’s Alivio app reduced barriers to entry and approval, helping us get funds processed as quickly as possible.”

Can Entidad help your organization’s service arm scale?

Schedule a call with one of our experts to find out. In a deeper discussion, you’ll learn how Entidad can take your program to new heights.

Related Articles

​​Ready to start your digital transformation journey?

By sending this form I confirm that I have read and accept the Privacy Policy.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Julette Martinez

CEO, Farm Worker Organization