As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, on March 17, 2020, the United Way of St. Joseph County (UWSJC) instantly shifted focus to emergency response funding for the community. UWSJC is working to raise and distribute emergency funding to essential not-for-profit partners, as well as updating communication efforts around available resources, ensuring that those who have immediate needs for food, shelter, healthcare and childcare are receiving critical support.

As of this week, the United Way’s COVID -19 Response Fund for St. Joseph County has raised over $1 Million Dollars, through generous contributions from the following Foundations and Organizations: 1st Source Foundation, Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, Garatoni Smith Family Foundation, Meijer, Schurz Communications Foundation, TRUIST Foundation, University of Notre Dame, Vera Z Dwyer Charitable Trust. In addition, 2 anonymous major-gifts have been contributed, and more than $13,000 has been raised by individual donors. Locally, South Bend’s Venues Parks and Arts is also helping to raise money for the Fund through sales of “South Bend, Side-by-Side” T-Shirts, and Martin’s Grocery stores are collecting donations for the fund at check-out.

“We know that we have just begun to scratch the surface on the needs that are arising due to this crisis. It is both a sprint and a marathon as we look to address the growing needs of today, and try to plan for the unknown of tomorrow. But through this, the immediate response and outpouring of support has given us hope and incredible pride in the strength and generosity of this community” said Laura Jensen, President and CEO, United Way of St. Joseph County.

The COVID-19 Response Fund was launched in order to meet the short term, immediate needs of individuals and families that will be impacted by COVID-19 as well as the long term impacts that have yet to be seen. UWSJC is meeting these needs by providing not-for-profit partners with critical funding to keep their doors open and their resources in-tact to serve the growing, and often overwhelming daily needs of our community. Already, more than 50 nonprofits have submitted over $800K in requests for emergency support—which is also growing by-the-day.

United Way is uniquely situated in the community to be a convener of emergency resources and expertise due to a long history of annual workplace campaign, a wide network of subject-matter experts, and partners in St. Joseph County who embrace and support the collective impact model. It is because of these roots in the community that the fund has quickly raised more than $1 Million dollars from foundations, corporate partners, and individual donors and continues to grow daily. In order to ensure that 100% of the dollars raised during this crisis are directly serving the most vulnerable in our community, UWSJC is underwriting all administrative costs associated with raising and distributing these funds.