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Greater Twin Cities United Way Distributes $200,000 to Provide Emergency Support for ~75,000 People

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United Way Staff


United Way Invites the Public to Donate to its Fund; Support Legislative Action to Help Nonprofit Sector Continue to Serve Community

Greater Twin Cities United Way (United Way) announced today it is distributing $200,000 in a first round of immediate grants from the Greater Twin Cities COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. Thirty-one of United Way’s existing, fully vetted housing and food security nonprofit partners will receive funding by March 25, 2020. The funds will be used to address critical community needs, including food, shelter, childcare, sanitation and hygiene supplies, and financial assistance for approximately 75,000 people across the region.

Research shows that one’s ability to thrive in life is based more on income level, race and place of residence rather than human potential. “Our greatest concern is the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people already experiencing the greatest disparities,” said John Wilgers, President & CEO, Greater Twin Cities United Way. “That concern guides our strategy for targeting resources in this time of crisis.”

The grants are funded by the generosity of the local community as part of the Greater Twin Cities COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund that United Way launched last week. To donate to the fund, go to or text GTCUWCOVID19 to 51555. One hundred percent of the donations will go directly into the community.

“Nonprofits are essential to mitigating the immediate and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on our communities, and many don’t have the financial flexibility or buffers to sustain during a crisis of this magnitude,” said Acooa Ellis, Senior Vice President of Community Impact, Greater Twin Cities United Way. “We are uniquely positioned to support our nonprofit partners with the help of generous donors.”

Advocate by Asking Legislators to Prioritize Nonprofits

United Way co-authored a joint letter to the Governor’s office and legislative leaders with specific legislative actions to support nonprofits on the front lines so they can provide uninterrupted, critical services to communities across Minnesota. To reinforce action, United Way invites the community to endorse the letter.

Why Nonprofits Need Support from Legislators

Significant funding for essential nonprofit human services is provided by the government. Most contracts are based on fee-for-service or per capita basis, meaning overhead costs are embedded in pricing. Therefore, reductions in services due to the pandemic will create major fluctuations in cash flow and directly limit a nonprofit organization’s ability to serve the community over the long term.

A survey from Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and Propel Nonprofits found 72 percent of Minnesota nonprofits have less than six months of cash on hand. Further, 40 percent don’t have an operating reserve. Of those that do, the operating reserve is zero to five percent of their annual operating budget.

The 9,000 nonprofit community service organizations in Minnesota are critical to the economy, employing over 385,000 people which equates to 13 percent of the state’s workforce.

Nonprofits Receiving Immediate Grants

  • 360 Communities
  • Ain Dah Yung Center
  • Appetite for Change
  • Avenues for Youth
  • Casa de Esperanza
  • Catholic Charities
  • CEAP
  • Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio, Inc.
  • Cornerstone
  • Division of Indian Work
  • East Side Neighborhood Services, Inc.
  • Frogtown Neighborhood Association
  • Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Inc.
  • Intercongregation Communities Association
  • Keystone Community Services
  • Loaves and Fishes Too, Inc.
  • Lutheran Social Service
  • Merrick Community Services
  • Neighborhood House
  • NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, Inc.
  • People Reaching out to People
  • Pillsbury United Communities
  • St. Stephen’s
  • The Bridge for Youth
  • The Link
  • The Salvation Army
  • Tubman
  • Women’s Advocates
  • YouthLink

About Greater Twin Cities United Way: One in four people in the Twin Cities region are experiencing poverty. Greater Twin Cities United Way supports long-term wellbeing by working to provide equitable access for all to a strong education, stable housing, healthy food and good jobs. We do this by bringing together the public, private and nonprofit sectors to solve the community’s most pressing needs. Through our public policy work, volunteer engagement, coalition building, United Way’s 2-1-1 hotline, nonprofit leadership support and grant making, we take a holistic, long-term approach to help people meet their potential. That’s because when more of us reach our potential, our whole community benefits. For more information, visit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


About the Author

Greater Twin Cities United Way unites changemakers, advocates for social good and develops solutions to address the challenges no one can solve alone to create a community where all people thrive. Together with our partners, we’re meeting immediate community needs while transforming inequitable systems in the areas of housing, food, education and jobs.

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