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Greater Twin Cities United Way Grants $700,000, Supporting New, Holistic Approaches to Serving the Community as a Result of COVID-19

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United Way Staff


Greater Twin Cities United Way (United Way) announced today it has distributed a third wave of grants totaling $700,000 from its Greater Twin Cities COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. Grants will provide emergency relief to 52 nonprofits in the region – including existing nonprofit partners and organizations not currently funded – that primarily serve people most impacted by the pandemic, including Black and Indigenous people as well as other people of color. Funding will address emergency needs identified by partners, including food and essential supplies, housing, medical safety equipment, access to resources and benefits, financial assistance and childcare.

“The desire to care for our neighbors during this pandemic has continued to inspire a generous response from Minnesotans, making it possible for us to quickly distribute a total of $1.215 million in emergency grants in only two months,” said John Wilgers, President & CEO of Greater Twin Cities United Way. “We don’t do this work alone. It takes unity across sectors, families and individuals, especially during a crisis, and I’m grateful.”

United Way based its third-round funding decisions on criteria including new and creative ways to deliver services; expanded reach of current services; and unique capabilities to serve vulnerable populations. Of the 52 organizations receiving grants from United Way, 21 are newly funded, 26 are existing partners and five represent partnerships between multiple organizations.

  • $1.215 million granted to date to support local emergency relief
  • United Way to invest additional funds in longer term recovery efforts

Nonprofit Innovation on the Rise

“Despite the uncertainty we’re all facing, our community and the nonprofit sector have shown great resiliency as well as the ability to quickly pivot to meet a major influx in emergency needs,” said Acooa Ellis, Senior Vice President of Community Impact, Greater Twin Cities United Way. “This third round of funding supports new, creative and effective ways organizations are serving the community while honoring their respective missions.”

Examples of third-round grantee organizations responding innovatively to COVID-19 include:

  • Youth shelter organizations are providing hotel vouchers to youth who are experiencing homelessness and are developing new shelter formats to align with social distancing requirements. They’re also working with landlords on behalf of youth, providing food and helping youth navigate public benefits.
  • Food shelves that typically provide a retail shopping environment for clients are offering drive-up and walk-up options. One organization is working on rapidly distributing culturally specific food to elders by partnering with faith-based community organizations.
  • A social enterprise restaurant that employs people exiting incarceration has had to reduce employee hours. As a result, it is providing employees direct financial assistance, virtual therapy and food.
  • Partnerships formed to counter existing disparities heightened by COVID-19, such as child and parent separation amid domestic violence intervention and limited access to culturally responsive health care.
  • Organizations are providing daily wellness checks via phone with elderly clients. They’re taking grocery orders, checking in on their clients’ mental health, reinforcing COVID-19 health practices and in some cases, providing rent assistance.

Total Funding Raised to Date

United Way has raised $4.5 million since March from 49 companies and over 1,000 individuals, with $2.8 million earmarked for the Twin Cities region. Several national corporations based in the Twin Cities have partnered with Greater Twin Cities United Way to distribute the remaining $1.7 million to other United Ways in markets across the country.

Many companies and foundations have provided generous donations to the Greater Twin Cities COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, including 3M, Ames Construction, Andersen Corporate Foundation, Bremer Bank, CHS, Deluxe, General Mills, LDI, Medica Foundation, Medtronic Foundation, Pentair, RBC Wealth Management, The Toro Company, Travelers and more.

Editor’s/Producer’s Note:

  • United Way leadership is available for virtual and phone interviews.
  • For more information, go to
    • For a list of companies supporting United Way’s COVID-19 efforts, scroll down to the third section.
    • For a list of nonprofits that have received United Way funding, scroll down to the fourth section (the Q&A) and reference the third question “Where will the money go?”
    • For more information on United Way’s 211 Resource Helpline, scroll down to the fifth section called “COVID-19 Resources.”
    • For more information on United Way’s work in advocacy, scroll down to the sixth section called “Ask Legislators to Support Nonprofits During COVID-19.”
  • Find more information on the second funding wave here.
  • Find more information on the first funding wave here.

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 on United Way, visit as well as Facebook, TwitterInstagram 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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