United Way announces COVID-19 Response Fund

Drew Butler

The United Way of South Central Oklahoma has recently launched a COVID-19 response fund to provide micro grants to local nonprofits working directly with individuals and families that have been impacted by the coronavirus. Currently $10,000 is available, and each nonprofit can apply to receive micro grants of up to $500.

Daela Echols, executive director of UWSCO, said this fund was implemented after United Way received an unsolicited donation to begin a fund to help those impacted by the pandemic. These funds were then combined with a grant from the Ardmore Institute of Health to create the COVID-19 response fund.

She said the funds are open to any 501(c)(3) organization within their five county service area: Carter, Johnston, Love, Marshall and Murray. Recipients do not have to be a partner organization with the United Way.

“This fund is set up for any nonprofit that is helping individuals and families who have been impacted by COVID-19,” Echols said. “Several of the nonprofits in our area have stayed open throughout the pandemic and have utilized many of their resources in order to supply food, utility assistance, and mental health services. Many have also had to adapt their services to include telehealth, and this is our way of trying to offset some of these additional costs,” she said.

Echols said the application process is quick and easy, and there are few restrictions or requirements put into place about how the money can be used as long as the funds will be used to help those impacted by the coronavirus. A committee will be reviewing each application and awarding the micro grants.

“We’ve left the requirements very general because we just want the community to succeed,” Echols said. “The committee will be looking at each individual application on a case by case basis, and we will continue to have the fund available and open as long as the money is still available.”

Echols said this fund is completely separate from the annual United Way fundraising campaign, and they are not fundraising to add money into the program. However any individuals that would like to contribute to the cause can do so via their website at https://www.uswco.org.

“This is just something that we felt that we needed to do as the United Way in order to help out our community,” Echols said. “We’re really just trying to help our communities continue to thrive.”