November 15, 2021- Alexandria, VA - United Way Worldwide has earned a new award for its Ride United Last Mile Delivery initiative, a partnership with DoorDash, local United Ways, 211 and others that's provided more than 8.1 milions meals to date. Innovation Leader, which focuses on innovation in Corporate America has recognized the United Way program with one of its prestigious Impact Awards.
On Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 11 a.m. ET, Innovation Leader will host a webinar spotlighting United Way and other award winners. Sawyer Baker, Director, 211 Programs, will share the insights, impact and future plans for the United Way Ride United Last Mile Delivery program with attendees. Please join the webcast by registering here.
The emergence of COVID-19 led to tens of millions of people isolated in their homes, creating the highest unemployment levels in half a century, and leaving many struggling to meet basic needs. Due to stay-at-home orders and reduced access to public transportation, existing lifelines — like food banks, pantries, grocery stores, meal services — were suddenly unsafe and out of reach. Recognizing this food access challenge, United Way launched a new partnership with DoorDash, the nation’s largest food delivery company, to create the Ride United Last Mile Delivery program and safely deliver food and critical household goods to high-risk and food insecure homes. Key partners include TikTok, PetSmart Charities and the Rockefeller Foundation.
“As the COVID pandemic drags on, innovators in big organizations are still dealing with plenty of challenges and pressures,” said Scott Kirsner, CEO and Co-Founder of Innovation Leader. “We’re glad to be able to shine a spotlight on some of the people and programs that have been delivering impressive results. The Impact Awards are all about people who keep moving forward, despite the headwinds — and that’s something worth celebrating!”
Ride United Last Mile Delivery, partnering with DoorDash, is working to broaden food access through last mile delivery and ensure it is a reliable way to permanently access charitable food. Even prior to the pandemic, the need for convenient solutions that emphasized dignity existed. Working together, United Way, local United Ways, 211s, DoorDash, and others are working to meet the ongoing need in underserved communities and for those who face transportation access barriers, are immunocompromised, or face other challenges.
Across 330 cities and towns in 17 states, United Way and 211, a vital service connecting people to essential health and human services, works with local food pantry partners to identify people in need of essential deliveries. Through a secure online system, United Way submits weekly pick up and drop off information to DoorDash. Dashers then pick up packages from food pantries and make contact free deliveries to clients.
Since April 2020, Last Mile Delivery has provided more than 635,000 free deliveries including 8.1 million meals, supporting over 34,000 households in need of food pantry boxes, food bank meals and other essential items. In April 2021, Ride United Last Mile Delivery expanded to include pet food deliveries, to ensure pet owners can keep their pets healthy during these tough times, without sacrificing their personal nutrition to feed their animals. The Pets Eating Too (PET) pilot, supported by DoorDash delivery services and PetSmart Charities, will provide more than 3,600 deliveries in four communities.
The successful roll out and scaling of the Ride United Last Mile Delivery initiative made an impression on Innovation Leader’s panel of judges.
“Impressive data on markets, people, and meals served,” wrote awards judge Jeff George of Hain Celestial Group. Judge Al Callier of Jiffy.ai noted that United Way Worldwide “achieved significant impact, at large scale, during a critical time.”
The implementation success achieved by teams across the country has resulted in securing additional sponsorship from national donors like Albertsons, the Rockefeller Foundation and others, including a commitment from DoorDash to provide up to 1.5 million free deliveries in 2022. As the country moves toward recovery, the Last Mile Delivery model is one of the programs, born out of pandemic innovation, that will have lasting beneficial effects. Other program funders include the Why Not You Foundation, founded by Russell Wilson and Ciara, as well as Palo Alto Networks, Z Zurich Foundation, Toyota, Alaska Airlines, GoFundMe, the Betz Family Winery and Results CX.
“Going forward, Last Mile Delivery will continue to provide essential food and household delivery services for people living in food deserts, experiencing transportation barriers, or otherwise unable to safely access food, with a goal of expanding it to over 30 states by 2023,” said Joshua Pedersen, Interim Senior Director 211, United Way Worldwide. "The United Way Network is at our best when we are tackling critical issues on the ground in creative ways with willing partners. Thank you to Innovation Leader for recognizing our commitment.”
For more information on United Way’s Ride United Last Mile Delivery initiative, please visit: Ride United-Our Impact | United Way Worldwide
About United Way Worldwide
United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. With global reach and local impact, we’re making life better for 48 million people annually. United Way is the world's largest privately funded nonprofit, working in 95% of U.S. communities and 40 countries and territories. That’s why we’re the mission of choice for 2.5 million volunteers, 7.7 million donors and 45,000 corporate partners in some 1,200 communities. In the wake of COVID-19, we’re helping people stay in their homes, stock their pantries, and protect their lives and livelihoods. And we’re working to build resilient, equitable communities. Learn more at UnitedWay.org.
United Way Worldwide Director of External Communications