There’s no question that COVID-19 disproportionately hurts communities of color. And it has laid bare, if not deepened, systemic racial and ethnic inequities. United Way is using our global reach and local impact to work with partners, from community coalitions to the largest global corporations, to reimagine and rebuild all communities as strong, resilient places where everyone can thrive.
In the U.S., the majority of Latino (72%), Black (60%) and Native American (55%) households report serious financial problems during the pandemic, versus 27% of Asian and 36% of white households, studies show. And death rates for Black and Hispanic Americans are much higher than for white people, according to federal data.
BET Networks, a new United Way Worldwide partner, stepped up to support Black communities in the U.S. during COVID. BET raised more than $18 million during its spring 2020 BET COVID-19 Relief fundraiser. That's has provided 2.5 million people in under-resourced neighborhoods of Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and New York City with financial assistance, food, health, and student learning supports.
Donors to the BET fundraiser (see funders and stories here) provided local United Ways with the resources to support grassroots organizations serving Black communities.
It’s not just the urban areas that are struggling with COVID. Smaller communities with limited resources are stretched beyond capacity to support people struggling to pay the rent or mortgage, put food on the table, keep the lights on, and support virtual schooling.
The Truist Foundation, the charitable arm of Truist, one of United Way’s Global Corporate Leader partners, provided a $3 million grant in 2020 to support more than 500 small- to mid-sized communities. That helped local United Ways deliver nearly 5 million meals, help 32,000+ people with housing or utility bills, and provide health supplies or services to 182,000 individuals.
Truist support also helped build capacity in the 211 network, which continues to field up to five times more calls for help on issues like housing, utilities, food, health care, and mental health. Funds raised by United Way Worldwide, including the generous Truist contribution, have directly supported the 211 network by adding much-needed staff in 90 call centers.
With the help of nearly 3 million volunteers and more than 8 million donors, United Way’s global reach and local impact helps us be here for the long haul, with the agility to target help where it’s needed most. Together, we can make our communities equitable, respectful, and opportunity-filled. We’re grateful for everyone who has joined us in this fight.