United Way of Berks County is launching the Berks COVID-19 Response Fund for individuals, foundations and corporations to donate money to help those most impacted by the pandemic. Funds will be distributed to local health and human service nonprofits with experience and expertise in providing food, essential supplies and other crucial assistance to Berks Countians in need.
“This is a crisis of immediate need. We want to make sure we can get resources to our community’s most vulnerable neighbors as quickly as possible. We know there will be a long-term impact on individuals and families missing paychecks; issues as children are out of school or missing childcare; and needs impacting our older adults,” said Joanne Judge, Board Chair of United Way of Berks County.
She added, “Because United Way believes so strongly in responding to the pandemic, the Board of Directors approved an organizational commitment of $100,000 to the fund.”
Contributions made to the Berks COVID-19 Response Fund will be distributed to local 501(c)3 nonprofits through an application process. The funding decisions will be made by local volunteers and professionals with experience evaluating critical needs and making funding decisions. The process will be similar to United Way’s Rapid Response Grant process, which has a proven track record of evaluating grants and providing funding quickly.
“Berks County nonprofits are familiar with the Rapid Response Grants. Many local organizations have applied and received grants in prior years. Over the last ten years, United Way has awarded $1.2 million in Rapid Response Grants,” explains Tammy White, President of United Way.
United Way of Berks County has already distributed eight Rapid Response this year totaling over $90,000; the majority have been in response to increased needs related to the pandemic.
“Community needs are growing and will continue to surge. By establishing this fund our focus is to support organizations on the front lines to ensure they have resources to help those most-in-need. At United Way, we have witnessed time and time again this community’s spirit of caring and compassion. We believe the response to this crisis will be another shining moment for Berks County,” said White.
Visit uwberks.org to make a donation today, or text UWBCGIVE to 85511. A list of frequently asked questions about the Berks COVID-19 Response Fund can also be found at uwberks.org All donations received, minus any credit card fees, will go directly to the fund.
“It has been inspiring to receive calls and emails from people asking how they can help. During this time of social distancing…we are all looking for ways to stay connected and to support one another. It is the Berks County way,” says White.