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Greater Twin Cities United Way Grants $682,000 to Support Nonprofit Sector Stability Amidst COVID-19 Crisis

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United Way Staff


Since March 2020, United Way:

  • Provided $3 Million in Grants to Nonprofits in the Twin Cities Region
  • Expanded United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline to Meet Emergency Needs Statewide
  • Advocated for Supportive Federal and State Funding, Policies: $100 Million for Housing Assistance, $30 Million for Early Childhood Care/Education, $65 Million for Child Care Support

MINNEAPOLIS (Embargoed 10 a.m. March 9, 2021) — Greater Twin Cities United Way (United Way) announced today it is awarding $682,000 in a fifth and final wave of grants from its Greater Twin Cities COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. The grants will fund capacity building and employee wellness support for 51 nonprofits (see list at end of release) that operate with smaller budgets.

“Our nonprofit partners are finding new ways to meet increased needs of those they serve and to address the inequities at the root of these needs,” said John Wilgers, President & CEO of Greater Twin Cities United Way. “They have the expertise and solutions, and this new funding will help them continue to drive transformational change.”

Grants will fund business operations as grantees see fit, which could include strategic planning, finance, fundraising, governance, IT/technology and human resources, as well as employee wellbeing.

“This funding is critical, as our grantees have told us they are experiencing organizational instability and their employees need additional support,” said Acooa Ellis, SVP of Community Impact at Greater Twin Cities United Way. “They have put themselves and their families at risk mentally and physically to serve the community throughout this ongoing crisis and we are grateful for their sacrifices.”

United Way’s Impact Throughout COVID-19

Including this fifth wave of funding, United Way has provided a total of $3 million in grants since March 2020 to nonprofits directly serving people in the Greater Twin Cities community. The funding has helped to address emergency and long-term needs such as housing, food, child care and cleaning supplies as well as support for students and families trying to adapt to hybrid and distance learning, people impacted by layoffs, and nonprofit sector stability.

At the onset of COVID-19, United Way expanded its 211 resource helpline to meet a 300 percent increase in needs statewide, with housing as the No. 1 need. United Way shared that data and implications with legislators and advocated for supportive housing policies and funding. As a result, United Way and coalition partners, in part, helped secure $100 million in emergency housing assistance funded by the CARES Act, and the State of Minnesota contracted with United Way’s 211 to serve as the centralized place for people to apply for that assistance.

Further, United Way partnered with the Start Early Funders Coalition to help secure $30 million in emergency statewide grants to provide quality care and education for children. United Way also supported policies to address food needs that allowed the State of Minnesota to accept Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP) benefits online and helped secure $65 million in federal funds to improve access to child care.

Corporate and Foundation Funding

Many companies and foundations have provided generous donations to the Greater Twin Cities COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to support communities locally and across the country in markets where they have a presence. Those include 3M, Ames Construction, Andersen Corporate Foundation, Bremer Bank, CHS, Inc., General Mills Foundation, Liberty Diversified International, Medica Foundation, Medtronic Foundation, Pentair, RBC Wealth Management, The Toro Company, Travelers and more.

Grantees of United Way’s Fifth Wave of Funding

  • Ain Dah Yung Center
  • American Indian OIC, Inc.
  • Appetite For Change
  • Asian Economic Development Association
  • Athletes Committed to Educating Students
  • Avenues for Youth
  • Baby's Space: A Place to Grow
  • Bolder Options
  • Breakthrough Twin Cities
  • CEAP
  • Center for Economic Inclusion
  • Centro Tyrone Guzman
  • Children's Defense Fund - Minnesota
  • Connections to Independence
  • Cultural Wellness Center
  • Division of Indian Work
  • People Reaching out to People
  • Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, Inc.
  • Project Success
  • Solid Ground
  • Somali Success School
  • Southeast Asian Refugee Community Home
  • Southside Family Nurturing Center
  • St. Paul Youth Services, Inc.
  • The Banyan Community
  • The Bridge for Youth
  • Ujamaa Place
  • United Cambodian Association of Minnesota
  • Urban Strategies
  • Way to Grow
  • Wellshare International
  • Women’s Advocates


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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