United Way already halfway to $1 million fundraising goal for COVID-19 relief fund

United Way of Washtenaw County has already raised more than half its goal of over $1 million for a COVID-19 Community Relief Fund to support local nonprofits during the COVID-19 crisis.


Donations have ranged from $1 to more than $100,000. The fund has raised $257,000 from individuals and $359,000 from foundations and corporations, such as Toyota North America, which committed $50,000 to the fund.


The funds will be used to help meet emerging and critical needs in Washtenaw County due to COVID-19. It will help local nonprofits assist vulnerable populations including children, seniors, and those who need food, have health issues, or face income loss or housing crisis.


Pam Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Washtenaw County, says the organization increased its original fundraising goal to $1 million to cover community needs for more than just the coming weeks of the pandemic.


"We wanted to make sure we were building the resources now for the coming months," Smith says. "The fund is designed to help nonprofits meet the many service requests and help them cope with that stress on their operations and budget."


Funds will be distributed on an as-needed basis and are accessible now for nonprofits to apply. Grants will cover nonprofits' costs for up to six months.


"Any amount helps. Individuals who can donate $10 or $25, that really matters," Smith says. "We've always said (United Way) is the on-ramp to philanthropy, and anyone can be part of this change."


Smith says as funds are allocated to nonprofits, the grantees' stories will be shared on United Way of Washtenaw County's website.


For those who are short on funds during this time but want to help the community, Smith encourages visiting volunteerwashtenaw.org to see volunteer opportunities that are available in the midst of this pandemic.


To donate to the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund, click here.

For more Concentrate coverage of our community's response to the COVID-19 crisis, click here.


Emily Benda is a freelance writer based in Ann Arbor. You can contact her at emily@emilybenda.com.

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