United Way of New York City Establishes the COVID-19 Community Fund

Thursday, March 26, 2020

United Way of New York City Establishes the COVID-19 Community Fund



We are monitoring developments of this global pandemic, and as coronavirus reverberates across hospitals,

offices, schools, and homes, we are reminded of our most basic shared value—All of us depend on each

other for a healthy community. 

For more than 80 years, United Way of New York City has been committed to serving the community. Through triumphs and challenges, we mobilize the caring power of our City to help people in need. As we all face growing concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19), our mission and purpose remain the same.

We’re committed to doing all we can to help those who need it most.   



We know that there will be serious short- and long-term impact during this pandemic, including individuals who become sick, as well as those who are affected by business and school closures. 

We know that 2 in 5 New Yorkers lack sufficient savings to withstand a sudden loss in wages. With public events, schools and workplaces shuttering as the pandemic unfolds, low-wage workers living paycheck to paycheck will experience unprecedented financial hardship, with no clear options for recouping lost wages.  

We know that 700,000 New York City children rely on school-based programs for one, two or more meals each day—with schools closed, the demand for emergency food assistance will exponentially increase for these children and their families.  

We know that with schools closed that many working parents will not have childcare. Their own employment might be at risk; health care, retail and hospitality sectors are particularly impacted by any type of community closure. 


United Way of New York City has established the COVID-19 Community Fund, a dedicated resource to support the COVID-19 public health emergency. We will mobilize our broad network of over 600 community-based partners throughout the City to provide assistance to families to weather the COVID-19 crisis. This network of community partners will provide
direct services through our ReadNYCFeedNYC and StrengthenNYC programs.  

In this uncertain time, many pantries and soup kitchens will be overwhelmed and face financial disruption. UWNYC has the ability reach hundreds of thousands of people in need, in real time, through our Plentiful App. This ground-breaking technology helps connect food insecure New Yorkers with food and benefits immediately and allows us to connect with people in this time of crisis.  

UWNYC also has the ability to provide and sustain remote learning for students. Principals, teachers and families need help NOW. We can help teachers and principals reach their families and provide critical and ongoing resources like learning, food distribution and social work supports.  

Additionally, challenges with equipment and internet access make this a very challenging time for students—Help students  get connected  today!  

We’re working with New York City officials to make sure we know the protocols they are putting in place and to ensure we are involved in any relevant conversations that are related to the community response should the risk level increase.   

Lastly, we’re digitally convening various groups of stakeholders to discuss immediate and long-term solutions.  


In its over 80-year history, United Way of New York City has established and administered several funds to support crisis situations in our community, including the 9/11 Fund and the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. The COVID-19 Community Fund  will provide resources to our partner agencies and community-based organizations that work with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak.  

UWNYC will administer grants to partner agencies on a rolling basis through our current network of partners. In order to move resources efficiently and not further burden organizations on the frontlines of the pandemic, we are not hosting a formal application process currently. Funds will be released on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs in
subsequent funding phases...