COVID-19 Emergency Response

Local partnership disburses $4.56M to community residents in need

It’s difficult to put into words what the last few months have been like for millions of individuals and organizations around the world. The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the way we interact, the way we do business, and the way that we, a community-based organization, think about how we allocate time, energy, and resources to have the greatest positive impact. It’s changed our priorities as spouses, parents, caregivers, and citizens.

But it hasn’t affected all of us equally.

Some have been lucky enough to make minor, inconvenient, adjustments to their routines. Don’t go out to eat on Friday night, no beach vacation this summer. Others in our community have been forced to make truly hard decisions. Decisions that could literally be the difference between life and death.

Nobody should have to risk their health to feed their children, or pay the rent, or have access to necessary medications. Those who have lost jobs and incomes shouldn’t be forced to work through an often complicated and backlogged unemployment system just to keep the roof over their family’s heads and provide basic needs.

As a response, a partnership was formed between the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, United Way of Greater Charlottesville, Cville Cares, the County of Albemarle, and the City of Charlottesville, to disburse funds to help our community members experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 and its economic impacts. The funds were distributed to qualifying individuals and families to help them meet immediate needs such as rent and groceries. From its inception on March 23 through the publishing of this statement at middle of May, more than 5,000 requests have been filled, affecting an estimated 18,000 community members, and $4.56 million has been disbursed.

None of this is possible without your support. The United Way alone has been fortunate enough to have over 100 generous donors contribute or pledge over $100,000 to this financial relief effort. Each of the partners has contributed time, treasure, infrastructure, or manpower to make sure that the money was there to be distributed, and that it got to families most in need throughout our community.

We understand that even this level of resource allocation doesn’t solve the problems that many in our community face. It doesn’t break down the systems that have allowed this outbreak to disproportionately affect communities of color. However, it’s our responsibility, in this moment in time, to do all that we can to ensure our neighbors’ needs are met today, while we continue the longer term work in our impact areas to create an equitable community where every person can thrive.

On behalf of the United Way of Greater Charlottesville, thank you for your support, and stay safe.