A message from:
Joanne Judge, United Way Board Chair
Tammy White, United Way President
No one expected 2020 to unfold with a pandemic creating unimaginable and unprecedented challenges. What was not unexpected was the inspiring acts of kindness and generosity from you and others. This meant families did not go hungry, evictions were prevented, medical and counseling appointments were conducted safely through virtual technology, mothers received formula and diapers for their babies and toddlers, children received remote learning support and much, much more. Additionally, frontline staff delivering services received PPE to remain safe as they provided help to those most impacted by the pandemic. All of this was possible because of your kind and generous support of the Berks COVID-19 Response Fund.
To date, $837,000 and 50 COVID grants were distributed to 41 organizations, helping over 290,000 of our neighbors. Nearly seventy percent of grant funds were directed to food insecurity and housing/shelter/utilities – – the greatest needs identified through contacts to 211. Even as vaccines are being administered, COVID continues to impact us all and is particularly difficult for our most vulnerable neighbors. With this in mind, United Way carried over $230,000 of the COVID-19 Response Fund dollars to be used this year. Additionally, the organization budgeted supplemental funds to be available to further support organizations and direct services in demand because of the pandemic.
United Way of Berks County also received an extraordinary and unexpected gift of $10,000,000 from MacKenzie Scott and we were advised that United Way of Berks County was selected because of our track record as an effective leader and collaborator by investing funds in the community to produce the greatest impact on the most significant needs. The United Way is committed to honoring the confidence that Ms. Scott has in us and we are working to address the most effective ways to do so. An ad hoc committee is meeting this month to develop a process to utilize the funds in the most effective, efficient and transparent manner.
Your confidence in United Way is valued, and your support is what drives the organization’s ability to provide critical services providing hope and help…strengthening the place we call home.