United Way of Dane County awarded $1.5 million in COVID-19 relief grants to more than 90 organizations which help prevent homelessness and provide aid to families in need in the community. 

The funding comes from the Dane County COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Fund which launched March 13 in collaboration with Boys & Girls Club of Dane County and Selfless Ambition. The fund solicited donations from corporations like MG&E and raised $2 million in total — United Way distributed $425,000 from the fund in an earlier phase, according to a press release they sent to The Herald

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In an email to The Badger Herald, Senior Director of Community Impact at United Way Lauren Martin said the fund has three main target areas — eviction and homelessness prevention, meals for children and older adults and flex funds, which is money that can be used to cover any expenses a family might experience during this time. 

“The fund priorities may evolve as our county adapts to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Martin said. “We will continue to prioritize communities most impacted, recognizing deep and historic inequities that are likely to be magnified in times of crisis.”

The local organizations awarded grants to provide aid to the community in one of those categories through programs they offer, according to a document from the United Way. 

The United Way chose organizations through a volunteer committee that examined applications before making recommendations to the United Way Board, Martin said. The volunteers scored applications using a rubric to assess how the program would impact the community, Martin said.

United Way President and CEO Renee Moe spoke about the grants in the press release.

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“Families are looking for resources right now to keep food on the table, pay their bills and stay in their homes,” Monroe said. “There is a delay for those eligible for unemployment or federal stimulus dollars. We aim to get dollars into the hands of people who need help right now.”

United Way will give the COVID-19 relief funding out to the organizations this week, Martin said. United Way will be working with other non-profit organizations on May 5 in an event called Giving Tuesday Now to thank frontline workers of the pandemic and more information on this effort will be released in the coming weeks, Martin said.