As the coronavirus pandemic creates public health fears and economic uncertainty, community organizations in Dane County are banding together to give financial relief to those who have been hit hardest by the outbreak.  

The United Way of Dane County, Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, Selfless Ambition and other area organizations announced Friday a collaborative fundraising campaign to support short-term emergency needs and future recovery efforts. 

“It’s such an uncertain time,” United Way president & CEO Renee Moe said. “We know that now, more than ever, it’s important to come together to support all of our families, all of our neighbors in our community.” 

Moe and Dane County Boys & Girls Club CEO Michael Johnson announced the Dane County COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Fund has already secured more than $885,500. Johnson challenged the community to raise $1 million by Monday. 

“There are thousands of people in this community from children to seniors to people who have been laid off … they’re going to need our support,” Johnson said.

The funds will be split into short- and long-term approaches. 

The Boys & Girls Club and Selfless Ambition, a faith-based charitable organization, will operate a fund focused on individual and families’ immediate needs. These include medical supplies for those affected by COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — meals for youth, local shelters and temporary housing for college students. 

Also, this fund will support seniors in need of meals, transportation and medical assistance and hardship funding for nonprofits for individuals and families. 

“100% of every single dollar that we collectively bring is going to go back to the people who need it the most,” Johnson said, noting applicants will not be charged administrative costs. 

The deadline for completed applications is March 24 at 5 p.m. Grant decisions will be announced March 27. More information can be found on the Boys & Girls Club’s website. 

To plan for long-term needs, the United Way is operating a fund focused on providing resources to nonprofits, individuals and families. The fund will remain open for the foreseeable future

This fund will support food and meals for seniors and children, eviction prevention and homelessness prevention. Also, it will create a flex fund that can respond to new crises that emerge for individuals, families or nonprofits. 

“We don’t know how long this crisis is going to go on,” Moe said. 

United Way is also recruiting volunteers to assist pandemic-related efforts, whether through their time or material donations. Volunteer priorities are food delivery, childcare for emergency care workers, temporary housing, and food pantry staffing support and donations. 

To make a gift to the Dane County COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Fund, visit the United Way's website or text “help4covid” to 40403.

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