MANSFIELD -- United Way of Richland County has announced it will adjust the way it allocates funds to partner agencies this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since COVID-related complications could delay the evaluation process (and thus donations) for months, the allocations committee and United Way board chose instead to fund all partner agencies at 2019 levels.
While United Way typically funds specific programs administered by partner agencies, this year those agencies will receive the funding to use as they see fit.
United Way is encouraging organizations to focus funding on food, rent and utility assistance, health and mental health programs and addiction treatment, as much as possible.
“We kind of felt like those were some of the most critical needs in the community,” said Dan Varn, executive director.
United Way made an initial payment totaling nearly $177,000 to all its partner agencies in March. Additional investments will go out in July, October and December, bringing the total to $534,900.
In addition, the organization will disperse extra grants totaling $55,000 for urgent needs and emergency assistance programs. Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and the Independent Living Center are among the organizations receiving additional funding.
“All three of them are our partners, but we wanted to bolster them with additional funds because we know that they're going to be getting additional requests,” Varn said.
Additional COVID-19 Relief Investments from United Way of Richland County
|Catholic Charities||$10,000||Rental or mortgage assistance|
|Salvation Army||$10,000||Utility assistance|
|Independent Living Center||$5,000||Assistance programs for those facing emergency and living with a disability|
|United Fund of Shelby||$15,000||Emergency assistance programs in the Shelby/northern Richland County area|
|Clear Fork Valley Foundation||$15,000||Emergency assistance programs in the Clear Fork Valley|
United Way will also grant $15,000 to both the United Fund of Shelby and the Clear Fork Valley Foundation to provide regional support.
Joe Gies of the United Fund of Shelby said he was excited for the opportunity to provide more aid to residents in and beyond the city.
“We generally handle just Shelby, but we’re starting to build a lot of bridges in north Richland County, so I think this is just another great piece,” Gies said. The organization’s board will meet Friday to decide specifically how to use the funds.
The Clear Fork Valley Foundation operates primarily as a scholarship program, but agreed to help distribute the United Way funds for more general aid purposes.
"We readily accept this opportunity to partner with United Way to further their cause in the Clear Fork Valley," Snyder said. "Our board is now in the process of determining the most effective way to reach those most affected and with the greatest needs due to this health crisis."
Lastly, United Way will set aside an additional $100,000 to start a COVID-19 relief fund.
“We know that there are probably needs that are going to arise or exceed our initial investment and we want to have the flexibility to invest in those needs," said Varn.
“From our standpoint, the extra dollars that we’re putting out are vital because this community has stood by us through good times and challenging times and now it's our turn to support them in every way we possibly can," Varn said.
For more information about community resources for those impacted by COVID-19, visit United Way of Richland County's Response and Resources page.