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Greater Twin Cities United Way Launches COVID-19 Fund; Expands Its Statewide 211 Resource Helpline and Advocacy Efforts to Support the Community

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United Way Staff


Greater Twin Cities United Way announced today its holistic approach to meet the most critical needs of the community, including its Greater Twin Cities COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Based on the most urgent needs identified by Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 95 nonprofit community partners, United Way is prioritizing its fundraising around food; shelter; child care; sanitary and hygiene supplies; and financial assistance, and will direct funds to its existing nonprofit grantees.

People can donate at or by texting GTCUWCOVID19 to 51555. One hundred percent of all donations will go directly to the community to help those who are most vulnerable, including people experiencing poverty.

“During this very difficult time, we are thankful to have a deep connection with nearly 100 nonprofit partners we support, enabling us to respond to community needs in the most relevant ways,” said John Wilgers, President and CEO of Greater Twin Cities United Way.

Expanded 211 Resource Helpline Service

Greater Twin Cities United Way’s 211 resource helpline – available 24/7 in over 100 languages – is staffed by Certified Community Resource Specialists who are trained to provide referrals to local resources related to accessing food, paying housing bills and other essential services. For help, dial 211; text the letters MNCOVID to 898-211; or participate in a live chat via United Way’s 211 website.

The 211 resource helpline is a critical resource for parents with kids of all ages. Given school closures, people with questions about food distribution sites and child care are encouraged to call 211. This frees up school district staff to respond to other needs while leveraging the expertise of 211 specialists and the 211 infrastructure.

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been an increase in calls to the helpline related to child care, COVID-19 testing sites, grocery store hours, transit schedules and county social services closures.

Expanded Advocacy Efforts

In partnership with local and statewide nonprofits, Greater Twin Cities United Way is urging legislators to take emergency action to ensure the long-term health of the nonprofit sector.

More on Most Urgent Needs

According to United Way’s 95 nonprofit partners, the most urgent needs include:

  • Food support: There’s an increase in food shelf demands and for meals among school-aged children and youth. Mobile delivery food programs also are strained.
  • Shelter support: There’s a need for segmented shelter for people who must be put under quarantine and for those who are waiting for test results.
  • Sanitary and hygiene supplies: There’s a need for hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, paper towels, wipes and other basic sanitary materials, especially for organizations that manage multi-unit housing residencies.
  • Direct financial assistance: Closures of restaurants, businesses and other employers have created financial challenges for hourly workers (e.g., ability to pay rent).
  • Affordable child care.

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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