United Way’s COVID-19 Response

Stay up to date

As United Way continues to monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in our region, our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our staff, volunteers, agency partners, and the community we serve.

Events and meetings have been cancelled through May 8. To stay up to date, follow United Way on Facebook, on Twitter, and on our COVID-19 Response page.

Milwaukee businesses respond

Several of United Way's business partners have shown incredible generosity in response to COVID-19. Here are a few of their stories:

Central Standard Distillery quickly converted some of their high-proof vodka into a disinfectant spray that they provided for free to those highest as risk, such as nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, critical care centers, and first responders. The distillery used a formula from the Centers for Disease Control. Central Standard Distillery is co-owned by Evan Hughes and Pat McQuillan, who served on the Emerging Leader Council from 2013 to 2019.

Digital Bridge, based in Milwaukee, works with partnering non-profits and non-governmental organizations throughout the world to provide affordable technology to low-income households, set up computer labs for the communities that need them, and to help their partners who are already doing good work to further their missions and create a lasting legacy, all using refurbished technology. Digital Bridge is supplying computers to United Way agency partners, enabling more nonprofit staff to be able to work remotely and continue the important work they are doing in our community. Digital Bridge Founder and Director Jeff Hanson is a supporter of Technology United and was happy to help. If you or your organization has old computers and equipment, please consider contacting Digital Bridge for pick up.

Due to event cancellations, the kitchen staff at Marcus Hotels & Resorts' The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee had plenty of fresh food on their hands with no one to serve it to. United Way picked up the food (the donations filled two vans!) and distributed it to several of United Way partners, including The Cathedral Center, Inc., Guest House of Milwaukee, Walker's Point Youth & Family Center, Sojourner Family Peace Center, and The Salvation Army Milwaukee County.

Thank you to the countless individuals and companies who have already supported these important efforts!

COVID-19 Urgent Needs Fund

COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives, and everyone's situation is unique. If you'd like to make an additional donation to help meet the increased needs of our nonprofit partners during this time, including purchasing necessary supplies and increasing staff support, make a financial gift to the COVID-19 Urgent Needs Fund here.

"Our #1 priority has been getting supplies and money out to those nonprofits that are continuing to serve clients and to meet urgent needs–in particular, shelters and food pantries. We are checking in with partner agencies every day to see if they are altering services/hours and if there are any urgent needs we can help meet."
- Nicole Angresano, Vice President of Community Impact at United Way.

To date investments from the fund have included:
  • Money to allow emergency shelters to stay open 24/7, rather than requiring daytime exits.
  • Money to purchase more food items for pantries and for individual agencies.
  • Diapers for early childhood programs.
  • Medical and cleaning supplies for clinics and shelters.
  • We also distributed products we had in-house from volunteer engagement projects and events including toilet paper, hand sanitizer, non-perishable food items, hygiene products, and more diapers.

Advocate with United Way and other ways to make an impact

United Way fights the health, education, and financial stability of every person in Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. Your voice matters. Use your voice and raise awareness about how we can all impact our community during the COVID-19 crisis. View our Advocacy page to learn more.

Area hospitals are in need of masks, eye protection, hand sanitizer, and other supplies. Several are accepting donations of these items that meet CDC guidelines. If you, your workplace, or someone you know have items that can be donated, please reach out to area hospitals or see if they have steps listed on their website for donation logistics. In order to follow safe social distancing and avoid delays, United Way is not accepting these items at this time; they should be donated directly to hospitals.

While all United Way volunteer events are canceled through at least May 8, if you or someone you know wants to go out into the community and support organizations still in need of volunteers, tips and urgent needs can be found here. Volunteers are still needed at many food pantries, IMPACT 2-1-1, and blood donation centers. Looking for a way to volunteer from home? Eras Senior Network has an urgent request for volunteers to make weekly wellness check-in calls to 10 seniors. Sign up here.

If you are in need of services or know of someone who is, dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211 to be connected to someone who can help. In anticipation of increased call volume, you can also access resources by visiting the IMPACT 2-1-1 website. Several United Way staff members have recently completed training to take calls during this time as well.

Connect the power of your network with ours. Spread the word about the work that United Way is doing in the Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County community. When you like, share, and comment on our posts, you are letting the world know that you are Living United. Follow us on Facebook (United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County) and Twitter (@UnitedWayGMWC).

Despite our office closure, we will continue to conduct business remotely Monday through Friday during normal business hours. United Way's Donor Networks and Major Gifts Teams hope you are all well and safe. Please feel free to reach out to any of if you have question. We’d love to hear from you!

   Bev Arrowood, Major Gifts Officer
   Jeriah Ebling, Manager – Major Gifts & Planned Giving
   Lisa Manske, Major Gifts Officer
   Samantha Mitchell, Engagement Manager – Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives
   Mimi Laflin, Manager – Individual Giving & Women’s Philanthropy
   John Renaud, Account Manager – Leadership Society & Community Gifts
   Casey Renn, Account Manager – Donor Networks

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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County | 225 W. Vine St. | Milwaukee, WI | 53212 | 414.263.8100