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When communities face disaster, United Way plays a key role. From ensuring our first responders can act swiftly, to leading long-term recovery, United Way has the experience, networks and capacity to address even the most devastating events. United Way's primary role in times of disaster is in long-term recovery, which can take 3-5 years.

Across America, 211 is a community’s go-to resource. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 211 specialists connect callers with the help they need. During times of disaster, 211 supports communities before and during disasters. That might be directing people to evacuation routes and shelters beforehand, or helping people get food, water and emergency supplies afterwards.

But we're in the community long after the first responders leave, focusing on interim- and long-term disaster recovery. It’s not a quick fix. For example, our Hurricane Katrina recovery team formally operated for 10 years at United Way of Southeast Louisiana. That experience enabled United Way to quickly activate relief and recovery operations in response to severe floods that hit the same neighborhoods just five months apart in 2016.

United Way raised more than $1.4 million after the 2016 floods in Louisiana, and those recovery efforts have reframed how nonprofit collaboration is approached. The provision of resources, volunteers, case management, construction services, and financial assistance to other local nonprofits has accelerated recovery and stability for many communities in Southeast Louisiana. This collaboration can be replicated, as we bring people and organizations together to build stronger communities all over the world. 


people texted for assistance related to the hurricanes


messaged with a live agent to get urgent help


hours logged by staff and volunteers at 211 centers

Supporting Immediate Relief

Crises may be the new normal. That means we must help our communities prepare for and respond to disasters as they happen. The United Way network is uniquely positioned to provide on-the-ground disaster response, including raising funds; providing resources like food, water and shelter; mobilizing volunteers; and engaging local partners to ensure community stability. United Way is also proud to partner with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and many others who are helping with immediate relief and evacuations.

Leading Long-Term Recovery

Rebuilding communities is costly and takes years, and we’re in it for the long haul. When the first responders leave, United Way will still be there investing in sustainable development. It’s what we do. It’s who we are.

  • We serve as a convener for social service providers to assess needs and ensure the delivery of ongoing support
  • We focus investments and efforts on disaster case management, structural repairs, victims' health, and other unmet needs
  • We create innovative partnerships to address emerging needs and fill gaps

During these times of crisis and need, United Way’s network and partners committed to help rebuild lives and strengthen communities. We would like to thank everyone who helped—and continues to help—with our disaster relief and recovery efforts. Together, we are building a brighter future for communities, individuals and families. Click for a full donor list.

Donate to United Way's Disaster Recovery Efforts

These funds will help local United Ways support mid- and long-term recovery throughout the affected regions. With your support, we can help rebuild communities. 100% of individual donations given to these funds will be distributed to the affected areas.

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United Way's Past Disaster Work

In 2017, the United Way Network raised more than $75.98 million for mid- and long-term recovery efforts related to Hurricane Harvey, Hurricanes Irma/Maria and the earthquake in Mexico. Almost $54.68 million for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts; more than $20 million for Hurricane Irma/Maria recovery efforts; more than $1.21 million for Mexico Earthquake recovery efforts and more than $90,000 was designated for where the money is most needed.

  • What Previous Disasters has United Way Responded to?

    California United Ways Launch Relief Funds in Response to Devastating Wildfires
    In response to the wildfires, United Way of Northern California (Camp Fire), and United Way of Greater Los Angeles – in coordination with United Way of Ventura County (Woolsey and Hill Fires) – established emergency relief efforts to help those impacted. 

    • Camp Fire: To donate to United Way of Northern California to help victims of the Camp Fire, click here.
    • Hill and Woolsey Fires: To donate to the fund set up by United Way of Greater Los Angeles (in partnership with United Way of Ventura County), click here.
    • To donate to Ventura County, click here.

    United Way Hurricane Michael Recovery Fund
    Donate to the United Way Hurricane Michael Recovery Fund to support communities in Florida, Alabama and Georgia impacted by the storm. Learn more

    United Way Florence Recovery Fund
    United Way created the United Way Hurricane Florence Recovery Fund to support local communities in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia affected by Hurricane Florence. Learn More

    United Way Harvey Recovery Fund
    The United Way Harvey Recovery Fund supports communities in Texas, Louisiana other areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Learn More

    United Way Irma/Maria Recovery Fund
    This fund helps those in the Southeast United States and Caribbean affected by Hurricane Irma. Learn More

    United Way Worldwide Mexico Earthquake Recovery Fund
    United Way has created the United Way Worldwide Mexico Earthquake Recovery Fund to support communities in Mexico affected by the 2017 earthquakes. Learn More