UW Launches COVID-19 RESPONSE: Emergency Relief Fund

Working with a broad array of nonprofits, donors, and volunteers across its county footprint, Jackson County United Way is launching an emergency fundraising effort in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

United Way and our social service partners are committed to ensuring that our most vulnerable families have the support they need to weather the short- and long-term impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.

“This fund will allow United Way to rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations that are offering emergency relief to families and individuals in need and working with unbudgeted expenses related to COVID-19,” said Luke Nolting, JCUW Board President.

United Way has worked over the last week to understand the impact on nonprofits who are working with unbudgeted expenses related to COVID-19 and the individuals and families they serve. As the pandemic unfolds, United Way is partnering with nonprofits to make sure childcare assistance, food insecurity, and income supports are in place, and can be increased if possible, for struggling, working families who are being hit the hardest right now.

“Across Jackson County, together with our partners, nearly half of the county’s households who are working hard, but struggling to make ends meet during normal conditions,” explained Tonja Couch, Executive Director.

Forty-two percent of Jackson County households are ALICE, Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, and Employed—a term United Way uses to describe the demographic they serve. These households make just a little too much to qualify for public assistance, but not enough to fully meet their basic budget—let alone set aside any savings for a safety net when crises hit.

“We want to do everything we can to make sure these families have the support of the community to not only survive, but to thrive. Many of these people are working in the service industry. For example, having restaurants close for dine-in service means a loss of income for those families,” Couch added. 

Other ways families may suffer a loss of income due to COVID-19 include: unpaid absence due to illness or caring for a sick loved one, job loss related directly or indirectly to the virus, increased child care needs due to school and child care closures, and the potential risk of not being able to pay housing, utility and food bills because of these financial strains.

“As with all of United Way’s work, organizations receiving grants will be required to report back to funders on use of the monies granted,” Couch shared. “All involved agree that the priority right now is to ensure individuals and families in need are supported during this pandemic.”

“Even though these challenges feel overwhelming, we are so fortunate to be a part of a community where people come together to make a positive difference in people’s lives by giving to United Way,” Director of Development & Engagement, Maci Baurle said. She continued, “100% of what is raised will be directly invested back into Jackson County’s most pressing needs in regards to this pandemic.”

“Given the uncertainty of where the COVID-19 pandemic will take our community, and the very significant impact this has had already on our most vulnerable citizens, we are counting on the community’s support of United Way’s emergency grant-making endeavor to expand what are able to do,” Baurle said. 

United Way is working with others in the community, such as the Community Foundation of Jackson County, to monitor long term needs arising from the pandemic.  The Community Foundation has also created a fund to support charitable organizations.

Your generous contribution supports Jackson County’s human service needs during economic distress associated with COVID-19.  Donations can be made securely at www.jacsy.org, by calling 812-522-5450 ext. 7, or by mailing a check (Memo: Emergency Relief) to P.O. Box 94, Seymour IN 47274.