Like so many others, we found it incredibly difficult to reflect on the year 2020. The collective loss we felt as a team, a community, a country, a world… continues to be challenging. So, why look back at all? As soon as we asked ourselves this question, the answer became clear:
For the past 100 years, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey has stood by our neighbors to build a better tomorrow – not just for some and not just when it was easy.
When disaster strikes, we rally support.
When surprises bring setbacks, we find a path forward.
When a year like 2020 hits our region with unthinkable tragedy,
WE FIGHT BACK HARDER THAN EVER BEFORE.
Our United Way is built to respond, and for that reason we are starting the New Year with a tribute to our team’s Top 10 moments of 2020.
9. SOCIAL INNOVATIONS: Dr. Nikia Owens, our Managing Director of Financial Empowerment, won 1st Place for Race and Gender Equity at Social Innovations Journal’s Greater Philadelphia Innovation Awards.
7. WORKPLACE GIVING: 100% employee participation in UWGPSNJ’s workplace campaign, with a 13% increase in employee donations compared to 2019.
6. IMPACT FUND: Recognizing the prolonged effects and financial strain COVID-19 imposes on our nonprofit community, our United Way extended the 3-year grant cycle for our nonprofit partners for an additional year. Now more than ever, it’s important that critical resources remain available to our nonprofit community so they may continue serving the pressing needs of our community.
5. 2020 CENSUS: Last fall, we announced a match grant for every new donation to Philly Counts, up to $500,000, to raise a total of $1 million in new funding to target greater engagement of historically under counted communities in the region. In partnership with business, union, and philanthropic leaders, we met that goal, raising more than $1 million for grassroots organizations across Philadelphia, Delaware County and Montgomery County to conduct 2020 Census outreach and mobilize people to be civically engaged in the 2020 Census and election.
4. PHLCONNECTED: We collaborated with The City of Philadelphia, School District of Philadelphia, Comcast and multiple philanthropic partners to help K-12 Philadelphia students and families connect to the internet through PHLConnectED. This partnership is a critical step in bridging the digital divide for Philadelphia. Since the program’s inception in August, city officials estimate more than 12,000 district and charter students and families have been connected to the internet for free through PHLConnectED.
3. 2-1-1 HOTLINE: United Way’s 2-1-1 hotline provides callers with free, confidential access to thousands of programs and services that can help with everyday needs and in crisis situations. This year, we connected more than 75,000 callers across Pennsylvania and New Jersey with the health and human services they needed.
2. PHL COVID-19 FUND: When the pandemic hit, we knew action needed to be taken. In March, we came together with the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Foundation to launch the rapid response PHL COVID-19 Fund for frontline organizations in our region. Raising over $18M in less than 10 months, it quickly became the region’s largest relief and response fund and with our partners, we continue to provide urgent resources to the nonprofits that are serving those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
1. YOU: Your unwavering commitment to helping others was the highlight of our year. Your generosity fuels our impact. Only with your help were we able to continue the fight against poverty and support the core needs of our community. Thank you to our volunteers, partners, donors and friends that stood with us through it all.
Although the year 2020 was filled with unthinkable hardships, it invited us to test our resiliency. It inspired us to stand united, even when we were apart, to drive social change and fight for a more equitable future. Above all else, this past year showed us great things happen when we work together. As we enter the new year, we still have much work to do. But your support makes it all possible. Thank you for standing #PhillySJUnited.