United Way of Central Carolinas was founded 90 years ago in Mecklenburg County as “Emergency Relief” to help people affected by the Great Depression through the power of collective giving. In 2020, we were reminded that the work done by United Way of Central Carolinas is just as relevant today as it was nine decades ago when the organization was established.

 

United Way of Central Carolinas has played a crucial role in emergency relief during the coronavirus pandemic with the COVID-19 Response Fund, launched on March 16, 2020 in partnership with Foundation For The Carolinas. Nearly one year later, we reflect on the impact of the COVID-19 Response Fund and the importance of collaborating to serve the community during challenging times.

 

Mobilizing Resources Quickly

 

As a result of the public health and economic crises brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, United Way of Central Carolinas saw critical nonprofit partners on the front lines (shelters, food pantries, healthcare organizations and others) experiencing the impact and strain to address increased demand for services while simultaneously navigating decreased financial resources and modified workplace environments.

 

In the unique partnership, United Way of Central Carolinas and Foundation For The Carolinas employed their joint expertise to raise funds, assess needs and distribute grants to nonprofits within weeks of launching the COVID-19 Response Fund, amidst North Carolina’s economic shutdown.

 

Across the Charlotte region, more than 500 grants from these COVID-19 relief efforts have flowed to agencies on the front lines based on decisions made by special grants committees of community leaders.

 

Mecklenburg County

 

The community quickly responded to the call for help, with more than 1,100 donors contributing millions of dollars throughout 2020 to the COVID-19 Response Fund to support Mecklenburg County agencies providing food, shelter, healthcare and other services to individuals and families facing hardships.

 

The COVID-19 Response Fund has awarded nearly $22 million in grants to 356 nonprofits. The awarded funding included $4 million in grants made possible by the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County each contributing $2 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to the COVID-19 Response Fund.

 

Cabarrus and Iredell Counties

 

United Way of Central Carolinas and the Cabarrus County Community Foundation (a regional affiliate of Foundation For The Carolinas) implemented a similar fund in March 2020 to support Cabarrus County agencies. The Cabarrus County COVID-19 Response Fund has awarded over $603,000 in grants to 74 nonprofits.

 

United Way of Central Carolinas and the Iredell County Community Foundation (a regional affiliate of Foundation For The Carolinas) also worked with United Way of Iredell County to implement a fund in April 2020 to assist Iredell County agencies. The Iredell County COVID-19 Response Fund has awarded nearly $554,700 in grants to 51 nonprofits.

 

Anson and Union Counties

 

Designated gifts from corporate partners and additional public donations also began assisting agencies in May 2020 within Anson and Union counties—part of United Way of Central Carolinas’ five-county footprint. In Anson County, $125,000 in COVID-19 grants has been awarded to 14 nonprofits. In Union County, $183,000 in COVID-19 grants has been awarded to 15 nonprofits.

 

Convening and Collaborating

 

United Way of Central Carolinas’ unique position at the center of the nonprofit community is important now more than ever. The organization’s partnerships allow it to take on growing needs brought on by the COVID-19 crisis and collaborate to find innovative ways to continue serving the community.

 

Every day, United Way of Central Carolinas leads conversations, leverages community voices and brings the right parties together to address complex economic challenges and social disparities facing individuals, families and communities across the Charlotte region.

 

Collaborating with local government agencies, businesses, donors and volunteers to mobilize resources quickly and efficiently, United Way of Central Carolinas is ensuring the most vulnerable populations have the opportunity to achieve economic mobility.

 

Learn more about the COVID-19 Response Fund, including grant recipients across the Charlotte region.