United Way of Dane County's COVID-19 Fund and Volunteer Opportunities

Posted by Samantha Haas on Saturday, March 21st, 2020 at 11:45am.

As we navigate the changes in our own lives brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, many people also feel compelled to help the greater Madison community. But how? 

While still maintaining social distancing and following precautionary measures regarding COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and the Public Health Madison & Dane County, there are several ways to get involved.

If you have the means to give, please consider making a donation to a local cause you support. There are nearly 3,000 nonprofits to choose from in Dane County, and several directly provide food, housing, and transportation options for our community’s most vulnerable. 

The United of Way of Dane County, in partnership with several other organizations, just made this decision easier by launching a COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Fund that you can support online without leaving home.

This fund, which has already raised over $1.4 million from more than 840 donors, will go directly back to the community with two areas of focus.

The first fund is for short-term emergencies, including providing medical supplies for those impacted by the COVID-19 virus and funds to local shelters that support individuals and families in need. Operated by the Boys & Girls Clubs, Selfless Ambition, and other community-based organizations, this $425,000 fund is also geared toward providing meals for kids impacted by school closures; temporary housing and meals for college students; meals, transportation, and medical assistance for senior citizens; and supplemental support for those facing financial hardship due to business closures. Grants applications, available March 20, are due March 24 and the award announcements will be made by March 27, published in the Wisconsin State Journal. Learn more about the process here. Among the grant recipients is the Lussier Community Education Center, which we featured in a recent nonprofit spotlight.

The second fund is for long-term response and recovery, including providing resources to nonprofits, individuals, and families. Operated by the United Way of Dane County, this fund is focused on food for older adults and children, eviction and homelessness prevention, and flexible dollars to respond to other crises. Donations are ongoing, and grant applications, available March 27, are due early April and the award announcements will be made April 20. Nearly 100 applications were received requesting more than $3.4 million. Learn more here.

Another way to help, if you are able, is to volunteer your time or donate needed items to local nonprofits. You may find that food donations and deliveries as well as childcare for emergency care workers are among the most needed. The United Way of Dane County’s COVID-19 Response website acts as a hub for several of these opportunities here.

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