On March 17, 2020, the reality of what a global pandemic meant for Addison County was still settling in. People were just getting into the habit of not shaking hands and still needed to clarify whether meetings were happening in person or via Zoom. With much regret, events around the community were being postponed and we all hoped that maybe, just maybe, they'd still happen - and soon! Local businesses were starting to feel the pinch and everyone started worrying about hours being reduced, or worse, jobs being lost. At United Way of Addison County we launched Addison County Responds, our COVID-19 emergency relief campaign, and wondered if fundraising during a pandemic was even possible.
As of September 2, 2020, this great community of ours raised $218,066, allowing UWAC to deploy emergency grants to nonprofit partners and providing relief funds to individuals/families nearly immediately, while also providing continued funding for our partner agencies on the front lines. Below is a look into how those funds have been put to good work.
Emergency Grants for Partners
25% of Addison County Responds funds are deployed to local health and human service agencies responding to the pandemic.
Education grant recipients include:
- Addison County Parent/Child Center: $5,000 for immediate needs of Addison County families with children between the ages of 0-6.
- Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vergennes: $1,000 for technology to help execute their virtual summer programming.
- College Street Children's Center: $1,000 for cleaning/disinfectant products and PPE equipment.
- Otter Creek Child Center: $4,200 for PPE and other items necessary to re-open by June 1st.
- Starksboro Cooperative Preschool: $1,000 to purchase school supplies for at-home learning.
- Vermont Adult Learning: $650 for technology for virtual studies.
Financial Stability grant recipients include:
- Addison County Community Trust: $1,000 for equipment that will allow staff to work remotely.
- Addison County Restorative Justice: $1,000 for technology upgrades for staff.
- Charter House Coalition: $6,000 for PPE equipment and to support conversion of the shelter into a COVID-19 recovery center.
- HOPE: $2,000 for diapers, baby food, formula, etc. for distribution through their food shelf.
- John Graham Housing and Services: $2,500 to support urgent services to homeless people at the five JGHS houses and numerous scattered sites during the pandemic.
- Rogers & Hazard Relief Society: $1,000 to help jump-start a significant improvement in the safety and habitability of a county resident's home.
Health grant recipients include:
- Addison Allies: $1,000 to support the needs of migrant farm workers.
- Addison County Home Health & Hospice: $6,000 for personal protection equipment (PPE) for their front line staff who are caring for COVID-19 positive patients.
- Age Well: $3,750 to support the increased need for Meals on Wheels in Addison County.
- Elderly Services: $2,000 for technology to help launch an online activities program.
- End of Life Services: $1,000 for technology upgrades necessary to continue grief groups.
- Junebug: $1,250 for their "Cozy Kids" program.
- New Community Project: $1,000 to support food access in Starksboro.
- Open Door Clinic: $2,950 for "COVID Care Kits" and oral health and hygiene education for migrant farm workers.
- Pathways Vermont: $2,000 to provide necessary supplies and food to the individuals and families in Pathways housing.
- WomenSafe: $1,000 for technology to continue remote programming.
- All partners: $4,008 spent on PPE equipment and other supplies.
Emergency Funds for Individuals/Families
25% of Addison County Responds funds are deployed to individuals who need support beyond what the existing systems can provide. From March 30-May 13, funds were distributed through our United@Work program for immediate emergency needs. In mid-May 2020, funding was moved to the Community Homeless Response Team (CHRT) to help ensure that the most vulnerable individuals/families are safely housed and supported in the wake of the pandemic.
Continued Funding for UWAC's Partner Agencies
United Way of Addison County invests in 29 nonprofit partners in the areas of Health, Education, and Financial Stability. Fifty percent of Addison County Responds funds allowed us to continue our funding commitments for those partners, most whom are on the front lines of the pandemic.
Addison County Responds: By the Numbers
The generosity of our community to Addison County Responds has been incredible. Here is a look at the generous neighbors who have helped our cause.
- 429 total donors (417 individuals and 12 organizations)
- 166 new donors to United Way of Addison County
- Donors from 20 Addison County towns
- 11 Vermont donors live outside Addison County
- 18 donors live outside Vermont
One Addison County Responds donor sent in this note with their gift: "A pandemic is a widespread disease. It can only be fought with equally widespread responsibility and generosity. That is the soul of Addison County." We received donations in all sizes; every donation was met with gratitude from UWAC and our partners. Every donation made a difference. Thank you for your generosity and kindness. Below is a breakdown of the number of donors by giving level.
Behind the front lines
We are excited to show our donors how we put your gifts to work with our funded partners through "Behind the Front Lines", a series of Facebook Live videos that goes behind-the-scenes of these great Addison County nonprofits. Enjoy the recordings below!
This is our first pandemic. We have been in uncharted territory since March, and there is still more work to be done. While we cannot predict what the future holds for Addison County, we do know that we could not do this good work without the support of each other. Thank you.