As our community grapples with the reality of COVID-19 and comes to terms with a new, however temporary, reality, “we were made for this” has been the refrain at our United Way. We’re here, we’re active and engaged, we’re committed to listening to the community and deploying the response and resources to help us minimize fallout and speed recovery in our community – because we’re built for situations just like this.
Emergency response is in our DNA. In addition to our ongoing commitment to measurably and meaningfully reducing poverty, we come to this fight with a legacy of emergency response and a track record of reacting in real-time with real solutions when our community is in need.
Seated at the intersection of the business, public and nonprofit sectors, we are uniquely positioned to bring together the voices and people who have the resources to help our community move forward during this time of crisis, as well as a vantage point that lets us see gaps and work collaboratively to fill them so we can respond and recover as quickly as possible.
We recognize that as home to the nation’s poorest big city and some of the most impoverished regions in New Jersey, our neighbors already living in poverty will feel the effects of this virus more acutely and more prominently, and the need will be great.
That’s why we’re continuing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our 166 partners who are on the front lines of this crisis. Their work and our investment in them align powerfully with the needs that are arising in the face of COVID-19 and other emergencies. We are stepping up to deploy solutions and resources to help the nonprofit community navigate immediate and longer-term fallout from this epidemic and ensure that critical resources remain available for those in our community who need it most.
What does that look like?
- First and foremost, we’re taking care of our team. Our ability to do that work hinges on the well-being of our staff, and we are proactively taking measures to ensure their and their families’ health. And so, effective March 16, our staff will be 100% remote. Additionally, we’ve established an internal COVID-19 Action Team to identify and help address problems as they arise in real-time. We’re also updating our policies and encouraging staff to take necessary precautions to keep themselves and their families safe, including postponing, canceling and/or moving to virtual options for all United Way meetings through April 30 to keep our employees and our partners secure.
- We’re taking care of our partners. We’re not the only ones in this fight and as important as our team is, our nonprofit partners are equally so. We’re committed to practicing good philanthropy to support the nonprofit partners providing critical resources to our community when they are needed. In addition to actively pursuing options to set up a fund and working closely with colleagues and other funders to ensure a coordinated approach and outcome, we’re exploring options to get vital dollars into the hands of our partners as quickly as possible so they can continue to serve those in need in these critical early days.
- We’re thinking globally. As a member of the United Way Network, we are part of a critical network to help navigate what is not just a regional problem, but a global problem. Standing with United Way Worldwide, we are ready to help our own community – as well as others across the nation and globe – respond to and recover from this crisis.
Although we’re facing a time of uncertainty and fear, this situation is not beyond us. We can and will stand up for our community and be a part of an infrastructure that will ensure we respond and recover. This is just the start of how we can support our neighbors – today, tomorrow and in the future – so stay tuned for future updates and information.