United Way of Central Iowa recently invested $518,724 in 44 of its nonprofit partners across Polk, Dallas, and Warren counties in response to their emerging needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This investment is the first distribution from $1.1 million planned for COVID-19 relief this year and is included within the total investment of $21.5 million that United Way of Central Iowa is distributing into the community this fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.

In a recent survey conducted by United Way of Central Iowa of its nonprofit partners and United Way funded programs, of those who responded:

  • 24 percent of the programs are operating over 100 percent capacity,
  • 74 percent are operating with modifications, and
  • 55 percent have on-going unmet needs as a result of the pandemic.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has created many uncertainties and stress for the nonprofit community across the nation – but this is our home, our community, so we’re really feeling it here in central Iowa,” said Renée Miller, chief community impact officer at United Way of Central Iowa. “Nonprofit organizations have responded to increased community needs by modifying programs, shifting to focus on needs that are more immediate and urgent, and sometimes developing entirely different service delivery models to creatively reach those who are most vulnerable in our community.”

The more than $500,000 investment aims to meet the community’s most pressing needs by supporting our nonprofit partners and the vulnerable central Iowans they serve in the areas of return-to-learn support for students and families from underserved communities; essential needs (housing, food, legal services); mental health; safety and health supplies; and technology.

“Health and human services nonprofits in our community are critical partners for reaching and supporting children, adults, and families in central Iowa who may otherwise not receive it,” said Elisabeth Buck, president of United Way of Central Iowa. “We know this dedicated investment will help fill the gaps and enhance the delivery of in-person or virtual services and programming right now.”

United Way of Central Iowa prioritizes responsible stewardship of the funds they receive from more than 28,000 donors across the community. All investment decisions are made based on the advice and direction of community experts in the organization’s focus areas of health, education, financial stability, and essential needs. Union members, corporate donors, community leaders, individuals from philanthropic and community organizations, along with others from the community selected the local programs that organizations are responding with wisdom, efficiency, and integrity.

To give to United Way of Central Iowa’s Emerge United Fund with no minimum and no administrative fee, visit emergeunited.org or designate your donation to the Emerge United Fund during your workplace campaign. Emerge United Funds are invested in addressing systemic equity issues and supporting the emerging and rapidly changing needs of health and human services organizations, schools, job training programs, and ultimately the individuals and families they serve.

Sara Engelhart

About The Author: Sara Engelhart

Strategic Communications Content & Media Manager