United Way’s Community Crisis Fund awards $154,417 in COVID-19 Grants

United Way of Central Alabama announced the award of 36 grants totaling $154,417 from its COVID-19 Community Crisis Fund to local nonprofit organizations within its five-county area.

“There are serious needs in the community, and they are only going to grow”, said Sara Newell, Sr. VP Community Impact. “We need help to continue to be able to make the awards these nonprofits are depending on to be able to continue serving the public.”

At a news conference in March, United Way of Central Alabama President & CEO, Drew Langloh, announced the Community Crisis Fund would seek donations to help feed people in need, provide some emergency assistance for people who need help paying bills for needs such as utility and rent, and support distressed nonprofit organizations serving people negatively impacted by COVID-19.

The first round of April grants went to nonprofits providing direct services to individuals and families already at risk. Many of the recipients are churches or groups associated with ministries and grassroots organizations that address vital services and needs, including food distribution, medical transport services, prescription assistance, and emergency utilities payments.

Two grants also addressed an emerging issue caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the need for more mental health counseling.

“The social isolation of this quarantine is something that we are sensitive to,” added Newell. “We already have a gap in supporting mental health in our communities, so there is going to be an even more dire need as a result of the quarantine restrictions.”

To meet this demand, the COVID-19 Community Crisis Fund gave grants to Impact Family Counseling in Jefferson County and Capstone Rural Health Center in Walker County to purchase telehealth equipment.

These funds will help the two groups provide mental health counseling that meets social distancing standards.

In addition to these grants, future grants will cover the gaps that nonprofits’ budgets are experiencing as a result of the pandemic and their revenue stream drying up or diverted for immediate COVID relief.

These awards will be made until the Community Crisis Fund is depleted.  Proposals that can’t be funded will be shared with a network of foundations and private funders in the hopes that those organizations might be able to fund the requests. This will help limit the burden on nonprofits who are applying from completing multiple applications.

Experienced nonprofit volunteers on United Way’s Community Impact Committee reviewed the Community Crisis Fund Applications submitted. They are Tracey Morant Adams, Renasant Bank; Rena Ramsey, Everett Advisory Partners; Marzette Fisher, Architecture Works; Shirley Fagan, O’Neal Industries; Wilbur Johnson, Alabama Power; Leigh Leak, Baptist Health Systems (retired); and Phillip Coffey, Alabama Power.

Currently, applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, and awards are given out monthly. Corporate and individual contributions make these awards possible. To donate online, go to www.uwca.org/COVID19 or mail your check to United Way of Central Alabama, COVID-19 Community Crisis Fund, P.O. Box 320189, Birmingham, Alabama 35232.