Community members and partners,
I want to share several updates on the impact of the coronavirus/COVID-19 on the activities of our United Way. As you all know, this is a fluid situation, and we’re adjusting in real-time as information becomes available. With the virus now established in the US and escalated to pandemic status by the World Health Organization, we want to respond with actions that best protect our staff, board and clients; and, ultimately our community.
The greatest short-term impact is to our Cville Tax Aid program. Wednesday afternoon, UVA announced it was asking all students not to return from Spring Break to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in our area. Our Cville Tax Aid program is operated in partnership with Madison House UVA student volunteers, and with the loss of these trained and certified 280 volunteers, we cannot operate the program. As a result, we have indefinitely postponed the program given the reliance on student volunteers.
We are also examining our Early Learner scholarship program to determine how many parents who utilize our scholarships will be unable to work given economic challenges with their employers and how this will impact our financial responsibilities to the provider centers. We are committed to covering all childcare expenses through April and will then reevaluate the needs of our clients. We have also developed an Emergency Fund to help with financial emergencies caused by the coronavirus. As with most of these disruptive events, our most vulnerable community members will be impacted the most, with even greater economic, income and childcare challenges than what they face on a regular basis. To donate to our COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund click here and note “crisis fund” in the memo either online or by check.
For our grantees, should COVID-19 disrupt your organization’s ability to operate as planned, our staff is available to support you. As an example, your ability to meet grant-related reporting requirements or objectives may be impacted. If you’re concerned about this or other issues, please contact Barbara Hutchinson, VP of Community Impact, at email@example.com, so that we can work to adjust expectations as we face new challenges and work ahead. We are also looking into an emergency fund to support our nonprofit partners with short term needs caused by the coronavirus and will send updates next week on this developing program. Additionally, our VP of Engagement is working to develop a program to mobilize volunteers to help agencies working on the front lines of the human service sector.
Internally, to do our part to prevent the coronavirus spread and protect our staff, our office will start a “work from home” policy on Monday, March 16th. These recommendations are in place through March 27 at which time we will review workplace and community safety recommendations from local and state public health officials. Our staff are currently working our usual hours and can be reached most easily by email. Contact information can be found on our website: www.unitedwaycville.org Most of our programs will continue to operate with few modifications; for example, our Early Learners Scholarship program and Family Investment program.
Thank you for your steadfast commitment to our community, I have every confidence in our combined ability to pull together with kindness and concern for all.
President & CEO