Everyone in our community has been impacted from COVID-19 in some way. Food pantry visitor numbers have increased, students need tutoring and assistance with school, and the call volume of our 2-1-1 helpline has doubled. We’ve partnered with other community members to help respond to immediate needs and have made a plan to respond, recover, reimagine and rebuild Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties.
Polk County Unites
In collaboration with the Polk County Board of County Commissioners, Polk County CARES provided Polk County residents who lost wages due to COVID-19 with $12,803,174 in financial assistance toward rent, mortgage, utilities, food, child care, adult care and other emergency needs in the amount of $2,000 per person. Polk
Included was, Polk County Unites nearly $5 million in financial support for 239 nonprofit organizations in Polk County to aid organization in continuing to provide critical services.
individuals received funding
improved their health
served at food pantries
HOW WE RESPONDED
United Way of Central Florida and GiveWell Community Foundation partnered together to form the United Community Relief Fund to aid community organizations that faced an unprecedented demand on resources. Together, they raised critical dollars from individual donors, corporate partners and the community at large and worked together to identify grant recipients and allocate funding.
From March 2020 through June 2021, the United Community Relief Fund awarded grants to 67 local nonprofits and awarded $25,000 for food distribution.
Funding priorities were:
- PPE & sanitation supplies
- Food distribution
- Housing & financial assistance
- Childcare for essential workers
How we are continuing to Respond
This year, United Way staff and Board of Directors spent time reflecting on our history and looking to the future. Our new strategic plan lays out how we will continue to respond, recover, reimagine and rebuild central Florida in an on-going pandemic world.
Our new strategic plan outlines five pillars that are essential for UWCF’s continued success and growth. We must…
Ignite Community Impact
Building off past success, we will advance our commitment to our seven community impact initiatives while continuing to be responsive during a crisis and build the capacity of nonprofit organizations.
Deepen Donor Relationships & Grow Revenue
Leveraging our long-standing relationships, we will demonstrate our impact within the community and our value by focusing on raising funds and increasing the impact of those donor dollars.
Increase Brand Awareness & Market Penetration
Utilizing traditional and digital marketing strategies, we will increase awareness of the immense need in Central Florida and the solutions United Way provides.
Advance Virtual Business
Transitioning to the most effective systems, we will use new technologies that enable staff to work efficiently and partner with United Way Worldwide to join a shared Customer Relationship Management tool.
Enhance Operational Excellence
Informed by exciting new tools to drive operational excellence, we will focus on talent management and recruitment, building a strong foundation of rigorous financial analysis and integrated technology platforms, and ensure that staff and partner agencies maintain a bias for action on diversity and equity issues.
Your gift to the United Community Relief Fund means that we can keep people in their homes, ensure access to healthy food, address mental health concerns, connect people to the digital access they need during the pandemic, and work to reduce the barriers that prevent our neighbors from living their best lives. It means hope for someone in our community.
Thank you for helping us respond, recover, rebuild and reimagine Central Florida.