Berks COVID-19 Response Fund

United Way of Berks County has launched the Berks COVID-19 Response Fund to support local nonprofit organizations serving our most vulnerable neighbors. As our community moves forward from the COVID-19 crisis, we recognize that needs will shift and continue to grow, especially in the areas of housing, food and utilities.

United Way has committed $100,000 to the fund. All donations received for the fund, minus any credit card fees, will be directed to the fund. Thanks to the generosity of the Berks County community, the challenge matches provided by Customers Bank, Dena and Vic Hammel and The Kindness Coalition Foundation, Karen and John Arnold, have been fulfilled.

Special thanks to The Wyomissing Foundation for providing a $100,000 contribution to the fund.

Special thanks to The Edwin Barbey Charitable Trust for providing a $100,000 contribution to the fund.

COVID-19 is creating significant challenges for our community. As we are individually taking the steps to protect our own families, we know this crisis will be devastating for our most vulnerable neighbors. Missing paychecks, the inability to pay rent, the lack of access to food and basic supplies are realities many in our community will face. At the same time, the health and human services that support our community during “normal” times are facing significant challenges meeting the increased demand for services. It is critical these organizations have the resources they need to continue to operate now and beyond the crisis.

What is the fund?

The Berks COVID-19 Response Fund will provide flexible resources to health and human service organizations across Berks County to provide essential aid to those most impacted by the pandemic. Berks County will also benefit from ensuring vital community-based organizations are sustained through this crisis. To see current updates on the total raised, donors and grants awarded, visit our Update page.

What will the donations support?

The funds will be directed to the highest priority needs based on gaps created from loss of work and shortfalls in government support.

Who will decide how the donations are deployed?

Funding decisions will be made by local people (professionals and volunteers) who have experience evaluating critical needs and distributing funds. Funding decisions will be approved by the United Way of Berks County’s Board of Directors.

The funds will be directed through a process similar to United Way’s Rapid Response Grant process which has a proven track record of evaluating grants and providing funding quickly. Over the last ten years, United Way has awarded $1.2 million in Rapid Response Grants.

Who will receive funds?

Funds raised will be provided to non-profits as rapidly as possible to deploy resources quickly. Updates will be provided regarding the amount of dollars raised for the Berks COVID-19 Response Fund as well as the grants issued.

How do nonprofits apply?
Click here to access the guidelines and instructions. If you have any questions, please contact Kristin Gehris at 610-685-4567 or
Will the donations stay in our community?

Yes. All donations will go to local nonprofits and help provide local services..

Is my donation tax deductible? YES!

United Way of Berks County is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization and your donation is tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law. To claim a donation as a deduction on your U.S. taxes, please keep your email donation receipt as your official record. We’ll send it to you upon successful completion of your donation. For actual tax implications, consult your tax advisor.

What are other ways to give?

Gifts of stock, wire transfer or other assets will be accepted by contacting Jean Morrow at Gifts from DAF’s are encouraged and donors should direct advisors to note COVID-19 Fund. To give by check, donors should note “COVID-19 Response Fund” on the check and mail to United Way of Berks County’s address at P.O. Box 702, Reading, PA 19603.

Where can I learn more about COVID-19 in Berks County?

If you are looking for help and community resources, please visit or call 211 for free information and referral 24/7 (you can also text your zip code to 898211), or contact the Berks County COVID-19 Help Center for non-medical questions at 610-320-6150 or email between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.