Since March, the Greater Twin Cities United Way has raised $4.5 million for Covid-19 relief efforts, the organization announced Monday.
More than half of the total — about $2.8 million — will be set aside for efforts in the Twin Cities area. The remaining funds will be distributed to other United Way chapters across the country.
“We kind of exceeded what I expected we’d be able to raise,” said John Wilgers, president and CEO of the Greater Twin Cities United Way. “It’s a reflection of the generous donors we have and the generous community we live in.”
Minnesota companies played a big role in the fundraising efforts. Donors included Medica, the Medtronic Foundation, the Andersen Corporate Foundation, New Hope-based Liberty Diversified International, and St. Paul-based Bremer Bank, which each chipped in $100,000 toward the United Way’s Covid-19 relief fund. In addition, General Mills Inc. gave a total of $1 million, which was distributed internationally, while The Toro Co. provided $240,000 to several United Way chapters.
Though companies in Minnesota and around the country are grappling with severe revenue drops, corporate giving continues on.
“We’ve been really impressed as we’ve talked to our corporate partners,” Wilgers said. “Despite being focused on their own business and taking care of their own employees, they have also remained generous.”
The Twin Cities chapter is making quick work distributing those funds to the community. So far, the organization has completed three “waves” of grants to local nonprofits. In the chapter’s third wave, more than 52 nonprofits in Minnesota received a share of about $700,000.
Each wave of grants has been directed to the most pressing needs at the time, Wilgers said. Some of the funds have gone toward nonprofits providing food and shelter, while other dollars have gone to groups providing early childhood support.
Unlike the first and second rounds of grants, the third wave required nonprofits to submit an application due to “overwhelming” demands. The amount of money that each organization receives varies depending on size and need.
Wilgers expects the United Way to distribute a fourth wave sometime this summer.
“We’ll continue to focus over the next few months to stay on top of where the needs are the greatest,” he said.