Greater Twin Cities United Way Creates COVID-19 Relief Fund
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Greater Twin Cities United Way Creates COVID-19 Relief Fund

The nonprofit makes it easier to direct donations at the pandemic and beefs up its helpline.

The Greater Twin Cities United Way on Thursday established a new fund for COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

On the organization’s website, users can now direct their donations to nonprofits working to provide “immediate support” to those hit hardest by the pandemic. The fund is separate from the United Way’s general donations, said John Wilgers, president and CEO of the United Way’s Twin Cities chapter.

About a week ago, the organization met with 95 local nonprofits to determine the most pressing needs during the coronavirus pandemic, Wilgers said. Those include food security, shelter, child care, sanitary suppliers, and financial assistance. With K-12 schools closed for the next few weeks, child care has emerged as a top issue for many folks. It’s an issue that’s “certainly been exacerbated” by schools closing, Wilgers said.

Access to food during the pandemic is another key issue, he noted.

Meanwhile, the United Way is also using its 211 helpline to provide resources during the pandemic. The 24-hour helpline is staffed by about 20 people.

“The majority are answering calls, and we have some staff focused on data collection and ensuring we have the most updated information to share with the public,” said spokeswoman Kelly Puspoki.

United Way leaders also say they’re continuing advocacy work on behalf of the nonprofit sector during the crisis. For instance, the organization is asking legislators to provide grants to support the anticipated uptick in demand for emergency services.

For a list of more local charities in need of support due to coronavirus, visit