When COVID-19 hit our region, a lot changed, seemingly overnight. We found ourselves quarantined in our homes, socially distanced from friends and loved ones. Everyday items we once took for granted were suddenly hot commodities. Jobs were lost and entire industries have shifted how they do business forever. Yet while so many aspects of our lives have changed, the fiber of who we are remains the same. COVID-19 has not robbed us of our human spirit or defeated the desire to help our neighbors.
Thanks to that spirit of generosity and connectedness, the PHL COVID-19 Fund, which we launched four weeks ago with Philadelphia Foundation, has raised $14.5 million to date. Recently, we announced the third round of grants, bringing the total funds awarded to $7.3 million to 195 nonprofits throughout the region.
While COVID-19 has affected each and every one of us, the reality is certain communities and populations have been hit much harder or face barriers that make this crisis even more challenging to navigate. That’s especially true for immigrant and refugee populations, who face language and equity gaps that complicate accessing resources and services, as well as older adults who are already vulnerable to isolation and now find themselves even more distanced from friends, loved ones and resources. Grants from the COVID-19 Fund are equipping frontline nonprofits to continue providing critical safety net services for our most marginalized neighbors. Click here to read more about the Fund and the three rounds of grants to date.
United Way’s response to the pandemic doesn’t end there. COVID-19 knows no borders and so neither can our response. That’s why this week we have invited our community to join us in helping our neighbors most affected by the aftermath of COVID-19 through our #Shoulder2Shoulder campaign. Last week, the government stimulus began hitting bank accounts. While for many, the funds were a much needed cash infusion to help them stay afloat until things return to normal, for some of us, it was a welcome bonus. Our #Shoulder2Shoulder campaign invites community-minded people just like you to join us in helping our neighbors most affected by the aftermath of COVID move from relief to recovery by investing all or a portion of their stimulus in United Way’s Financial Empowerment work. Now through May 5th, all gifts made to our Impact Fund through the #Shoulder2Shoulder campaign will be directly invested in three high-impact, transformational that areas of work:
- Help families facing housing insecurity find stable, more permanent shelter.
- Help individuals and families access valuable tax credits so they receive a full tax refund, credit counseling and benefits enrollment to help meet basic needs.
- Equip returning citizens with the skills and job training they need to re-enter the workforce and rejoin society.
During times like these, when our community needs leadership and generosity, it’s more important than ever that we stand in unity. For those of us who are lucky enough to face this time with enough – enough shelter, enough savings, enough food – COVID has not robbed of us our ability to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our neighbors in their time of need. Each and every gift has the power to be truly life changing. Will you stand #Shoulder2Shoulder with us for our neighbors?