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Communities of color are experiencing hardships due to job loss, food uncertainty and financial difficulties like eviction, foreclosure, and utility shut-offs.  

Black communities are disproportionately impacted by the virus. African American deaths from COVID-19 are nearly two times greater than would be expected based on the percentage of the U.S. population. In four states, the rate is three or more times greater.


Black Lives have been lost to COVID-19 to date.


of Black households are unable to afford basic household essentials including housing, childcare, food, and transportation


of Black Americans do not have health insurance

Investing in Relief Efforts on the Ground 

The challenges facing people of color are not new---but now community organizations and direct-service non-profits are being stretched to new lengths to provide essential services for residents who were already living on the edge. 

United Way and its partners on the ground are providing targeted support to tackle emergencies facing Black communities right now in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans and New York City.  

  • Atlanta

    Serving Atlanta’s Westside

    Raising Expectations (RE) intentionally serves the most vulnerable youth on Atlanta's Westside.

    They believe in mitigating the barriers to academic success for all youth, if not eliminating such barriers entirely. By leveraging the partnerships with other organizations on the Westside of Atlanta and by utilizing COVID-19 funding from BET and United Way, they have been able to support families through the delivery of groceries and cleaning supplies and assistance with rent/mortgage and utilities. They have also been able to pay additional staff to assist in collaboration with partners such as Home on the Westside, a program created by Westside Future Fund that focuses on community retention. Through these supports, they have succeeded in keeping families that may otherwise be displaced due to COVID-19 or gentrification on the Westside.

    For Dexter and Sheena Hill, the path to renting their dream home has been long and arduous. The parents of four children (ranging in age from 15 to 10) relocated from their home in Mississippi to Atlanta's Westside in 2016. It was at this time that they initially connected with Raising Expectations and their children participated in programs faithfully until an illness in the family forced them to return to Mississippi. Upon coming back to Atlanta in 2019, the Hills experienced numerous housing struggles, staying in shelters and with family friends until they were able to secure a rental unit. Through these trying times, the Hill children remained engaged in RE's school year and summer programs.

    “[You're] so greatly appreciated,” Ms. Hill said of the virtual support her children received during the 2019-20 academic year post-COVID. “It's a little difficult with [my son] due to his learning disability so us parents [want assistance too] and you hit the nail on the mark. Thank you!”

    Despite the obstacles they faced, the Hills never lost sight of their ultimate goal of homeownership. It was through their connection with Raising Expectations that the Hills were introduced to Home on the Westside and received assistance throughout the application process. The Hills were advised that they'd need to continue renting for the time being as they saved and took classes preparing them to buy a home, but fortunately, they were approved for the apartment of their dreams in a new complex on the Westside. The Hill family is now happily settling into their new space. The Hill children receive academic support via RE's face-to-face programs (adapted for COVID-19 safety) and Mr. Hill now works for the organization as a Transportation Specialist, facilitating student pick-ups and drop-offs as well as the delivery of groceries and cleaning supplies for Friday Outreach. The Hills are immensely excited about what the future holds for their family and RE is happy to continue providing support as they reach their goals.

    Providing Hope During COVID-19

    In DeKalb County Public Schools, more than 90% of children qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. COVID‐19 has made this situation for families, who are already facing food insecurity, even more tenuous. Many parents have been laid off or had their work hours reduced, and the number of requests for emergency food and housing assistance raised significantly.

    Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta provides services at 54 elementary, middle, and high schools in four school districts across metro Atlanta, including Atlanta Public Schools and the DeKalb, Fulton, and Clayton County school systems. The youth which CIS of Atlanta serves are overcoming obstacles and beating the odds.

    DeKalb County student, Ana, went through many struggles during the pandemic. Ana lost her mother due to complications from COVID-19, which put a heavy burden on Ana and her father. The family experienced many hardships like depression, stress, and financial instability.

    The site coordinator at CIS of Atlanta approved and processed a COVID-19 Emergency Fund Request that included two months’ worth of rent and food assistance, which was a great help to Ana. Her family was able to purchase food to stock their pantry and fridge. Moreover, the emergency assistance was instrumental in relieving some stress and anxiety from the family, allowing Ana to focus on her virtual school courses. The site coordinator reported that Ana and her family are thankful and doing well, stating the COVID-19 Emergency Fund helped them greatly.

    Keeping Students Engaged All Summer in Atlanta

    During the summer months, students often lose academic gains and start the school year playing catch up. As COVID-19 presents new challenges with virtual learning, providing extra support to students during the summer is more important than ever.  

    Future Foundation (FF) supports underserved youth in Southwest Atlanta’s Tri-Cities area of East Point, College Park, and Hapeville. This region is one of the worst in Atlanta for child wellbeing and is situated in Fulton County, home to the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia. FF works low-performing South Fulton schools where 100 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. They focus on students who are at greater risk for dropping out, including students who have repeated grades, are performing below grade level in English/Language Arts and Math scores, and have discipline issues or attendance problems.  

    FF is helping to prevent summer slide by providing virtual academic and enrichment support and connecting food-insecure students to healthy meals. Many FF students also lack hardware or connectivity needed to access academic support this summer. To address this need, FF is creating a virtual lending library to equip these students for distance learning until school starts. They have provided over 550 hours of academic and social and emotional support to over 200 students.  

    Ms. White’s 13-year-old son has been a part of the FF family for about a year. “Future Foundation has given him a routine and helped him with his homework. His grades have drastically changed.” Plus, Ms. White notes, the program manager at her son’s middle school made sure he received a laptop and joined the literacy program. 

    During the pandemic, Ms. White says FF has gone above and beyond for its students and families. “They’ve made sure the children are fed. They’ve brought paper goods – whatever we needed. They’ve done an outstanding job of being there for us during the pandemic.”  

    “Future Foundation has been very consistent and very caring – just authentic,” said Ms. White. “Knowing that you have a resource – someone who really sincerely cares – is awesome!” 

    Implementing Virtual Health Solutions

    The Center for Black Women's Wellness (CBWW) is using funds provided by the BET COVID-19 Relief Fund to deliver patient services to those in Metro Atlanta who are financially struggling during this pandemic. Prior to COVID-19, CBWW provided health services and care to those without insurance via the Center's Safety Net Clinic. The COVID-19 crisis forced the temporary closing of many facilities, the Safety Net clinic included. CBWW has transferred its health services to a virtual platform and implemented telemedicine as part of its COVID-19 Response program.  

    Rosalyn came to the Center for Black Women's Wellness six months ago after moving from Texas. She didn't know where she could get care for her diabetes without insurance in a new city. When Rosalyn called the CBWW, she said she felt like the center "came to my rescue."  

    Rosalyn got a free appointment at Safety Net clinic who helped her make a plan to manage her diabetes and access her medication. When it was time for her diabetes follow-up visit, the city was shut down as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The Center called, set up a telemedicine visit to see how she was doing and "delivered a kit personalized for her" with her diabetes supplies and medication so that she could take care of herself at home.

  • Chicago

    A Breath of Fresh Air for Seniors

    COVID-19 has rapidly become the defining crisis of a generation, changing the way people live and work across the entire globe. Seniors are by far the most at-risk, accounting for 80% of COVID-19 related deaths. They are afraid to leave their homes for groceries, or even to visit their families. Not to mention, black and brown communities are disproportionately shouldering this burden, with Black people dying at 2.1 times the rate of White people.

    At My Block My Hood My City (M3), the senior viral response program is focused on 20 black communities in Chicago that have seen the most severe effects of COVID-19. They have saved seniors 2,000 trips to the grocery store, provided 50,000 meals, distributed PPE to 2,000 households, and made wellness calls to 2,000 senior households.

    M3 volunteer Stacey said, “It was truly a pleasure to connect today with a few of the folks the organization supports. I expected to have some nice chats, but I didn’t expect to have such uplifting conversations. My calls with three seniors helped me at least as much as I helped them. Their strength, humor, and wisdom were a breath of fresh air for me, especially given the many challenges they face such as medical issues, limited mobility, isolation, and fear about their futures. Despite that, they made me laugh, shared advice, and reminded me of the inherent strength of the human spirit. It was a privilege to connect with them today. They renewed my hope for the future of our city and country.”

    One Click Away from Success

    When Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced they would be going fully remote for the school year, laptop devices quickly became a necessary school supply. In Youth Guidance's push to understand its students’ needs, they quickly pivoted to delivering a Youth Needs Assessment, and what they learned from over 4,000 assessments was that technology needs were one of the most often identified. Unfortunately, CPS was not able to deliver Chromebooks to all students, while others received slow-working machines, and of those, they were only loaner pieces of equipment. It became Youth Guidance's goal to provide all students who needed a laptop with their own permanent device to fully engage in school, as well as maintain critical connection to their Youth Guidance mentors and peers.

    Through the United Way BET Chromebook distribution program, Youth Guidance was able to identify and deliver 156 Chromebooks to Chicago students.

    MJ, a counselor from Steinmetz College Prep stated, “During this pandemic some of my students received their Chromebooks from the agency. A few of my kids called to tell me that they really need the Chromebooks in order to be able to do their regular schoolwork and do not think they would be able to pass without it.” MJ noted that one of his students called crying after receiving his Chromebook. “They were so happy to receive it and that Youth Guidance had kept their promise."

    Helping Seniors Stay Connected

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lawndale Christian Health Center (LCHC) had to transition their services. Instead of providing in-person care, they had to transition to a virtual and COVID-19 friendly strategy. By providing weekly phone calls for participants, visiting participants in their homes to meet tangible needs, and providing medical care and advice over telehealth, LCHC was able to pivot their care through the flexibility of the State of Illinois and the generous support of donors like United Way and BET.

    On the West Side of Chicago, caring for parents and elders is a challenge. More than 18% of 126,000 community residents in Lawndale and Garfield Park are 60 or older, and 70% of all residents fall below 200% of the poverty line. LCHC’s Senior Day Services was created to provide high quality, day-of care that allows aging adults to live at home longer than otherwise possible.

    LCHC's Senior Day Services normally offer transportation for all participants, meals, socialization activities, nursing support, general health monitoring, and other supports. LCHC has seen more than 3,000 day-long visits to its Senior Center. While the pandemic changed the organization’s services, LCHC continues to rapidly grow.

    Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the participants in Senior Day Services have been extremely thankful for the frequent check ins and quality of care. One senior shared, "I miss being there every day, but I know we've got to stay safe. The staff call me every week. I'm so grateful. It helps us stay connected." LCHC is committed to continuing to find innovative ways to care for its senior participants and ensure they can soon return to the program safely.

    Teaming Up to Give Back in Chicago neighborhoods

    The Greater Englewood community on the Southside of Chicago has been dramatically impacted by economic instability from the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the virus, the community had a 30 percent unemployment rate, and the median income is less than $30,000. 

    Since the pandemic hit, retail and service jobs have been reduced and businesses are temporarily closed, leaving many Englewood residents without a job. In a survey of over 600 residents in the community, 65 percent reported losing their jobs because of the virus.  

    Teamwork Englewood stepped up for its residents, providing economic security for families to prevent homelessness, food insecurity, and help with temporary or permanent job placement. With help from United Way and BET, the organization plans to support 150 families with cash assistance, 200 families with food support, and place 100 families into new jobs paying a living wage. 

    One such community member had been struggling since the pandemic hit. She is disabled and could not leave her house to grocery shop. Team Englewood provided food, but after civil unrest in response to the death of George Floyd left the community with no open grocery or convenience stores and many currency exchanges closed, this resident was unable to receive her disability payment from Social Security and couldn’t pay her bills. With cash assistance from Team Englewood, she was able to pay her bills, reconnect her phone to speak to her doctor and get transportation to set up a new bank account. 

    When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the Auburn Gresham community in Chicago, the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation (GAGDC) didn’t hesitate to bring community partners together to stop the spread of the virus. Alongside neighborhood partners, GAGDC delivered 20,000 masks across a population of approximately 45,000 residents in one week.

    But they didn’t stop there. Under the leadership of Executive Director Carlos Nelson, GAGDC leveraged the voice and strength of the Auburn Gresham United Way neighborhood network to demand a COVID-19 testing site for the neighborhood. On May 29, Lt. Governor Julianna Stratton visited the Auburn Gresham Test Site to thank essential workers. 

  • Detroit

    Fighting Hunger with Mobile Pantries

    For more than 30 years, United Way partner, Forgotten Harvest, has helped fight hunger in metro Detroit by rescuing surplus food from restaurants, grocery stores, caterers and more and delivering it free of charge to local pantries and food banks. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the organization faced a “perfect storm” of surges in demand, fewer volunteers and food shortages that required staff to revamp their overall operating model in a matter of days.

    To help, United Way for Southeastern Michigan awarded grant funding to Forgotten Harvest, made possible by the BET COVID-19 Relief Fund. The support targets the city of Detroit, where African Americans have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

    Nearly 40 percent of the COVID-19 related deaths in Michigan have been African Americans despite representing only 13.6% of the state's population. The grant funding allowed Forgotten Harvest the flexibility and funds to open 17 On-the-Go Mobile Pantries across Metro Detroit, where individuals and families are supplied with 45 to 65 pounds of food each week. The mobile pantries operate using a truck-to-trunk distribution model that allows for safe social distancing.

    Omar lost his job at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and was struggling to provide his family with basic needs, including food. “Because of the help I am getting from Forgotten Harvest, I’ve been able to take care of myself and family,” Omar said.

    Relief Fund Opens Doors for Detroit

    Seniors have been among the hardest hit with many of the programs and services they depend on being affected due to COVID-19. Because of the BET COVID-19 Relief fund grant dollars, Franklin-Wright Settlements (FWS) was able to stay open and adapt many of its services to socially distanced or virtual formats.

    FWS is one of nine organizations that received grant funding thanks to a partnership between BET and United Way. Funds received by United Way for Southeastern Michigan were distributed to partners following the BET COVID-19 Relief fundraiser, which aimed to assist in major cities like Detroit where the African American population has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The organization typically helps an average of 570 people each day. Since the onset of the pandemic, that number has nearly doubled and continues to grow.

    “The impact of the coronavirus on the Black community is more than physical, it’s mental,” said FWS CEO, Monique Marks. “Everyone knows someone who has been lost to this virus. There are massive numbers of people dying in our community, so it’s important for us to address those issues of grief, loss, and trauma.”

    FWS created innovative programs to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic, such as a food drop-off program, to meet the real-time needs of the community. FWS held its first outdoor, drive-up movie event to encourage seniors to socialize while apart from others, and weekly Zoom calls are helping the community deal with issues of loss and grief related to COVID-19. Online afterschool programs are also offered where school-age children can participate in fun activities and access tutors who help them adapt to virtual learning.

    During the height of the pandemic, Gail Smith, a 70-year-old Detroit resident, sheltered in place and had little communication with the outside world. Without extra money for food, she was forced to eat only peanut and jelly on crackers for two months during the height of the pandemic. “It is hard for seniors,” said Smith. “People just don’t realize that.”

    She was able to reach FWS on the emergency hotline that was added through grant funding to address the increased need during the pandemic. FWS was able to coordinate a box of fresh food for her, signed her up to receive a weekly box, and enrolled her in the organization’s Food and Fellowship program, which allowed her to interact with other seniors and increase her quality of life. This was all made possible because of the BET COVID-19 Relief fund.

    Providing a Safe Place to Stay

    In Detroit, as of early July, more than 80 percent of the 1,722 confirmed virus-related deaths were Black. Statewide, African Americans accounted for 32 percent of all COVID-19 cases and 41 percent of deaths, despite making up only 14 percent of the state's population, according to data from Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services.

    “COVID-19 has been especially devastating in communities like Detroit where you have a high prevalence of preexisting conditions compounded by low-wage, service sector jobs, reliance on public transportation (both of which expose individuals to increased infection risk), and the systemic biases that exist in many systems including housing and healthcare,” said Megan Thibos, Director of Economic Mobility Initiatives at United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

    Homeless populations are already among the most vulnerable to sickness. At Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), which serves a largely African American population, COVID-19 was a crisis superimposed on another crisis: people experiencing homelessness also lack access to health care or a safe place to stay.

    Organizations like the  Neighborhood Service Organization  have struggled to keep up with the needs of serving Detroit’s homeless individuals while also keeping their staff safe. With funding from United Way for Southeastern Michigan and the McGregor Fund, NSO opened a first-of-its-kind recuperative housing center in Detroit in May. The center offers 50 beds of temporary housing and continued care for homeless or housing insecure patients who need a place to continue recovery immediately after release from the hospital. 

    The center has been able to help individuals like Eric, who had been diagnosed with a blood clot. Just before being discharged from the hospital, he revealed to a hospital social worker that he was homeless and living in his car.

    “It’s not the situation you expect to find yourself in, but I was out of answers and needed help,” said Eric. Instead of going back to living in his car, he was able to stay in NSO’s new Recuperative Housing Center in Detroit and get back on his feet.

    After two weeks at the center, where he received meals, access to a nurse and social worker, physical and occupational therapy, Eric was connected to a group home with support services with the hopes of moving on to individual independent housing.

    “I really can’t say enough good things about this place,” Eric said of the center. “I was in my car in agonizing pain. They gave me hope in a terrible situation. Now I can start planning for a future – getting better, getting a job, renting a place where my kids can come visit me.”

    NSO has provided case management outreach to more than 1,000 families in Detroit as wraparound support to COVID-19 testing sites. NSO was also able to hire additional staff members, purchase cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment, and add professional deep cleaning and staff screenings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

    Housing the Homeless in Michigan

    On any given night in Michigan, there are more than 8,000 people living on the streets, in abandoned buildings or “doubled up” with family and friends. Under any circumstances, this is an unacceptable way for people to live. And now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these individuals and families are also at a much higher risk of becoming ill.

    Support from United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund and BET has helped shelters like Detroit-based Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) meet the needs of over 100 people in emergency shelters during the pandemic by providing support for staff, personal protection equipment and cleaning supplies. 

    COTS also supports individuals and families transitioning out of shelters and into stable housing. They provide assistance with rent, mortgage and utility payments, basic household necessities, and employment and workforce training.

    A single mother and her two children were moving into independent housing, but their unit was not immediately available. Thanks to support from United Way and BET, COTS was able to offer the family an extended stay at no cost until their new apartment was ready.

    “People who experience homelessness don’t necessarily even understand the full scope of their own dreams and goals until someone gives them an opportunity to explore them,” said Aisha Morrell, chief development officer at COTS. “COTS does that, and we’re able to continue doing that because of United Way.” 

  • Los Angeles

    Delivering Hope and Healthy Meals

    The YWCA Greater Los Angeles’ (GLA) Ujima Project was 1 of 25 projects selected nationwide to participate in the Health Equity Scholars program, a national program developed by the Cambridge Health Alliance. As part of this program, the YWCA GLA’s Ujima Project will receive peer and faculty support from professors at Harvard University’s Medical School on its program implementation to address health equity and social justice for Black/African American community members.

    As part of this project, YWCA GLA along with community partner Everytable delivered 650 meals to residents throughout South Los Angeles. The Maddox Company, a family-owned African American business that has been providing affordable housing to families for over 84 years was one of the community partners that participated in this meal delivery service.

    “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, the YWCA GLA Ujima Project and Everytable, for preparing and delivering healthy, delicious, beautifully packaged meals to our tenants,” said Deloise Maddox. The on-site delivery provided and introduced families to wholesome, healthy, and delicious meals. Delivery of meals to their on-site homes helped tenants to get to know each other, which generated a real sense of community.”

    One family that was given meals described this distribution as a “true blessing” since they did not know where their next meal would come from. The YWCA GLA Ujima Project continues to help and serve the Black/African American community during these difficult times.

    Helping Business Owners

    Like most of us, Marcia never planned for a pandemic to turn the world upside down in 2020. “This came out of nowhere,” she said. “At the start of the year, I had a totally different financial plan going on. If I had known this was coming, I might have planned differently.”  

    Marcia, the single mother to a teenage daughter, owns an HR business that focuses on placing workers, like nannies and caregivers, in people’s homes, and for the past few summers, she’s also worked in television production. “On both sides of what I do, there is no work right now,” Marcia said.

    Once clients stopped coming, Marcia’s utility bills began to back up, and she struggled to pay her mortgage. “I had a modest amount of savings, but not enough to get through many months of this,” she said.  

    Marcia applied to A New Way of Life’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, underwritten by BET and United Way of Greater Los Angeles. After speaking with Marcia to assess her greatest needs, United Way of Greater Los Angeles paid for her utilities (including her arrears) and a month of her mortgage, totaling $2,700.

    “I’m really grateful that this fund was available for people like me who are struggling,” said Marcia. “There aren’t many assistance programs available for homeowners. This is a godsend.” 

    Now, Marcia says she is able to catch her breath. “This funding has allowed me to take a break from credit cards, pay for some things as I go, and not accumulate so much debt. It has given me time to research and develop a plan. I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what A New Way of Life’s COVID-19 Relief Fund has done for me and my daughter.”

    Supporting Unsheltered Residents in Los Angeles

    Even though African Americans represent only 13% of the population, they typically represent about 40% of individuals experiencing homelessness. United Way of Greater Los Angeles is directing funds – from BET and other donors –  to support those who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness.  Its Pandemic Relief Fund is giving homeless critical short-term support and seeking to keep families in their homes. Longer-term strategies help the homeless get back on their feet. One of United Way’s partners in this work is the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles, which is using case managers to help homeless and potentially homeless with financial and economic support, food, and access to technology for job-hunting.

  • New Orleans

    Building a Strong Future

    Women and minority-owned small businesses in low-to-moderate income communities are significantly impacted by economic downturns, natural disasters, and global health crises. The COVID-19 pandemic is negatively impacting families, infrastructure, and economies around the world. In Louisiana, this event has had a significant impact on the small business community especially those that are located and operating in our most vulnerable communities.

    Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Urban League of Louisiana’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI) has continued to provide its core services with a deliberate focus on assisting businesses with surviving and thriving during and after the pandemic. The CEI provides small-business development services including business education workshops and interactive training, hands-on technical assistance, and access to resources relevant to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. Services include comprehensive business planning and support, loan packaging, business certifications, and assistance with operational streamlining, business financials and accounting, and other support services. To safely support its clients during COVID-19, the CEI has transitioned to virtual training and counseling sessions. The Center has also hosted several online information sessions to create awareness and increase access to emergency funding programs like the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program, the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance, and other loan and grant programs.

    CEI provides comprehensive entrepreneurial support services to small businesses in communities across the state of Louisiana. Since the declaration of Louisiana’s statewide COVID-19 emergency and the directive of Stay-at-Home mandates in March 2020, the CEI has provided training to over 1,300 small businesses. These trainings provide guidance to businesses how to adjust business models to address new customer demands, as well as market and industry-based challenges and opportunities. In addition, over 100 businesses have received counseling services to access business planning and emergency funding support.

    Dorothy Nairne is the owner of Delta Builds. This start-up venture strives to be the premier supplier of eco-friendly building materials, glass containers and household products all manufactured from recycled materials. The company is also certified as a disadvantaged enterprise (DBE) by the state of Louisiana and City of New Orleans.

    Delta Builds has established strategic public and private partnerships to promote recycling services and attain technical expertise. A partnership with the City of New Orleans is under negotiation including the possibility of industrial space and glass collection opportunities. Workforce development organizations are keen to recruit and train cohorts of workers including those who are unemployed and/or justice involved. Delta Builds has been recognized for its bold business model from the Roddenberry Foundation and New Voices.

    Dorothy has been a client of the Urban League of Louisiana since 2018 and has participated in several of the organization’s small business programs. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dorothy had received over 45 hours of counseling and participated in several training sessions. In addition, Dorothy is a graduate of the Scale Up! Louisiana program and was a finalist in the 2020 Women in Business Challenge. Dorothy and Delta Builds will continue to thrive with support from CEI, BET, and United Way.

    Keeping a Roof Over Our Heads

    The City of New Orleans, in partnership with Total Community Action, is offering rental assistance to households that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The rental assistance program is available to individuals whose household income has been reduced as a result of COVID-19 and that are not receiving rental assistance through other organizations. The fund is expected to serve approximately 600 households with an average grant amount of $750 per household. This is expected to last for 90 days or until the funding is exhausted. Currently the city has 5,000 families on a waiting list in need of assistance and continues to grow.

    One individual who received assistance shares her gratitude. Ms. Veronica A., recently widowed came into the office asking if there was assistance for seniors. She did sitting work for other seniors prior to COVID-19 and was let go due to the virus. Although she is on a fixed income herself, she had been supplementing her income to maintain some of the things she had accumulated when her husband was living. Ms. A is on a SSI income and realized it just wasn’t enough to cover all her bills without the sitting job. Total Community Action was able to help her pay rent when she presented letters from the seniors who she had been providing sitting services for. Ms. A was very appreciative of the assistance and help she received.

    Fighting for a Second Chance

    Faced with the highest incarceration rate across the nation, legislators passed reform measures to usher in returning citizens into communities across Louisiana.

    The Urban League of Louisiana’s Office of Workforce Development recognizes the need to build a steady pipeline of ready-to-work individuals, placing a strong focus on the specific target demographic of 18 to 24 year-olds not engaged in either work or school, and adults 18 and above, who are having difficulty connecting to jobs after returning home from incarceration.

    Through partnerships with organizations like the Center of Employment Opportunities, many returning citizens throughout the COVID-19 pandemic were able to receive $2,450 through the Urban League of Louisiana’s Career Pathways Program.

    Cornell Hood received his certificate from the training program and agreed this accomplishment will be the first of many to come. At the beginning of the pandemic, Hood came into the Urban League office and expressed his determination to succeed. Even with the city under quarantine, he got started on his goal just as Urban League started the first virtual workforce development training.

    Hood was sentenced to life in prison for a drug charge. Not accepting that he would spend the rest of his life in prison, he fought his case by studying for hours in the prison law library, finding any loopholes that could reverse his sentence. He was released after eight years in prison, and he has vowed to never go back. “This is my second chance. My goal is to make this opportunity work for me and my family,” said Hood.

    On June 8, 2020, Hood was hired by UNITY of Greater New Orleans, as a residence assistant. Hood expressed since being home that things have truly aligned for positive results. “You can have anything you want in this world if you step outside your comfort zone,” said Hood, claiming this second chance for opportunity will not get taken for granted.

    Lending a Helping Hand

    After being unable to work for several months due to COVID-19, Ms. M came to United Way of Southeast Louisiana seeking rental assistance.

    She had been working as a home health nurse, but after one of her patients was diagnosed with COVID-19, and Ms. M was laid off. In the midst of this difficult time, Ms. M was diagnosed with cancer, hospitalized and underwent several surgeries.

    She is now receiving assistance from Total Community Action, thanks to support from United Way of Southeast Louisiana and BET. TCA staff have helped her file for unemployment and ensure that her information is up to date.

    Ms. M has a charitable organization of her own, Saving Angels. As someone who dedicates her life to others, Ms. M is no stranger to the power of giving, saying that she “always shows love, and being kind pays off.” 

    Connecting People Healthy Meals

    New Orleans has the second largest population of seniors in the United States who are either food insecure or have limited food security as they lack sustained and reliable access to quality, nutritious food. This includes an estimated 13,100 seniors in Orleans Parish.  

    Support from BET/UWW COVID-19 Relief Fund, provided through the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, has enabled the New Orleans Council on Aging's Nutrition Program's Home Delivered Meals Program (AKA Meals on Wheels,) to deliver meals to individuals who otherwise would not be able to live independently and stay in their homes.

    “Mr. D” can trace his family in New Orleans all the way back to 1850 when his great grandfather came to the Port of New Orleans from Ireland. “Mr. D” receives shelf-stable meals as a part of the Meals on Wheels Program which was created specifically for clients who are able to cook and reheat food. Mr. D’s limited mobility makes it difficult for him to leave the house to do things, including going to the grocery store. By providing him five shelf-stable meals a week, Mr. D. is able to maintain his independence and access nutritious food.

  • New York

    Supporting the Unmet Needs in NYC

    Black Women’s Blueprint (BWB) works to place Black women and girl’s lives, and their particular struggles, within the context of the larger racial justice concerns of Black communities. During the pandemic, BWB has supported unmet needs of individuals, families, and communities throughout NYC.

    Helping Keep Hope Alive in East Flatbush

    Serving the East Flatbush and surrounding neighborhoods for over 10 years, the Hope Center Development Corp (HCDC) is a community-based organization that provides resources such as an educational resource center, food pantry, health services program, senior drop-in center, and crisis intervention counseling. Hit hard by COVID-19, many East Flatbush residents are struggling. Donations from the BET Fund are helping keep HCDC open to serve over 1,250 people a day.

    Being a Second Family

    Diaspora Community Services acts as a second family for those who are seeking assistance, especially during these difficult times. Donations from the BET Fund allow the Diaspora community to continue serving their clients to help them with their needs and provide them a sense of security.

    Providing Emergency Funds to Families in the South Bronx

    For years, United Way of New York City has partnered with LIFT-NY in the South Bronx to move low-income children and families of color from poverty to self-sufficiency.

    Nearly half of LIFT-NY families are single mothers supporting at least two children, and 93 percent can't cover their food, rent, or utilities. With support from corporate partners, United Way and LIFT-NY are providing emergency cash transfers to families in need. The above video tells the story.

    Addressing Food Hunger in New York

    The Campaign Against Hunger (TCAH) is one of United Way of New York City’s largest and most robust emergency food partners. TCAH provides nutritious food to over 300,000 New Yorkers annually in 150 zip codes across the city, including in Central Brooklyn, where half of the 108,000 residents are low-income and more than 90% of the population is of a racial or ethnic minority. 

    Since the start of the shutdown in New York City due to coronavirus, TCAH has served almost 1 million meals, reaching over 7,000 families a week. With support from United Way of New York City and BET, TCAH will be able to deliver more food to senior centers and family shelters and purchase food and supplies. 

Our strong partnerships make this work possible.