Fort Atkinson, WI – July 6, 2020 – The United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties has issued their third and final round of COVID-19 relief support to five area school districts and two local nonprofit partner agencies.
“On June 30th, we issued our final round of COVID-19 relief checks totaling $33,000. With our checks issued on March 31st and May 15th, our United Way distributed a total of $64,530 in grant support to our local schools and two emergency financial assistance programs,” states Megan Hartwick, United Way executive director. “A full 100% of the donations received for this fund were directly allocated back in support of those organizations providing support to those in need in our communities. We originally set a goal to raise and allocate $40,000, so to reach just under $65,000 was something we were very proud of and very humbled by.”
The $64,530 in funds have been allocated to five school districts in United Way’s service area: School District of Fort Atkinson, School District of Jefferson, Whitewater Unified School District, Lake Mills Area School District and then Palmyra Eagle Area School District. Funds have also been distributed to the emergency financial assistance programs through Bethel House and St. Vincent de Paul of Fort Atkinson.
“We were very fortunate to have some monetary support for our initiative right away, which allowed us to distribute support shortly after we opened the fund. We knew it would be important to provide some immediate aid, but we also wanted to be in a position to provide additional assistance after any federal or state aid packages stopped,” Hartwick states. “It was inspiring that so many individuals, organizations and companies understood the impact of COVID-19 closures were going to have a more lasting impact than the first month or so, and we are honored that they trusted their dollars to United Way and allowed us to allocate their donations to help children and families in our communities.”
The school districts are able to utilize the funds in whatever capacity is needed in order to best serve their students during the remaining summer break and to assist with any and all changes they will need to make for the new school year in the fall. The emergency financial assistance funds will be available for individuals and families who are in immediate need of support to cover their living expenses.
“Our school districts have served as heroes to so many children and families in our communities. We know that will only continue as they work hard to further adapt and shift to determine how to best serve the kids in our communities in the fall,” Hartwick states. “Bethel House & St. Vincent de Paul of Fort Atkinson are two local organizations with huge hearts and the ability to directly impact so many through their emergency financial assistance programs. Both organizations have started to see an uptick in requests now that federal support programs have ended, and our relief dollars to them will allow for far greater support to those still facing financial hardship.”
Donations for the relief fund are no longer being accepted, but Hartwick wants community members to know that the relief and support from United Way is not ending..
“Technically our COVID-19 relief fund is closed,” Hartwick states. “But our United Way will continue to provide support to our communities as we always have, much of which will directly impact those who have been negatively affected by the pandemic. So although donations can no longer be made to that specific account, any donation to United Way, at any time of the year, provides a positive impact on supporting our mission to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our communities.”
A total of 48 individuals, four organizations and seven companies contributed to the relief fund. Approximately 85% of those donors were brand new contributors to the local United Way.
“The support we received was overwhelming, and it was even more inspiring to see how many dollars came from those who’d never had a previous relationship with our organization,” Hartwick adds. “That showed us our communities were pleased with our quick action to start a fund and also confident in trusting us to be strong stewards of their contributions. We look forward to continuing to build those relationships and also reaching back out to all of our existing donors this fall to join our efforts during our 2020 United Way Campaign.”