Central Valley United Ways Gifted $6.6 Million to Support COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Programs
Generous donation is part of larger, anonymous gift
meant for multiple United Ways across the state.
FRESNO, CA (May 4, 2020) ― United Way chapters across Central California are receiving a timely gift from a generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous. The $6.6 million donation earmarked for United Way chapters in the Central Valley will be allocated between organizations representing the counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Fresno and Madera, Tulare, Kings, and Kern. The gift is part of a larger $15 million-dollar investment meant for multiple California-based United Ways, a network which includes 30 individual chapters as well as one statewide organization.

Local United Ways will work in partnership with the communities they serve to determine how to best use their portion of the anonymous donation. In the mid-Central Valley, United Way chapters are all engaged in some variation of COVID-19-related outreach. United Way of Merced County, United Way of Tulare County, and Kings United Way have funds specifically intended to assist non-profits doing relief work, while United Way Fresno and Madera Counties’ emergency fund provides immediate relief to vulnerable residents who have been negatively affected by the pandemic. All four chapters will also use a portion of the funds to enhance 211 services in their communities.

“This gift is a tremendous boost to provide critical, timely relief in our community,” says United Way Fresno and Madera Counties CEO and President, Lindsay Callahan. “Yet, even with a multi-million dollar donation in hand, we simply need more. The level of need is unprecedented, and the increased volume of 211 calls show us that residents are reaching out more and more for basic necessities like food and shelter. To help these families and individuals get through these difficult times and be able to start a path to recovery from this pandemic, we need more funds, more volunteers, and more community support.”

Nanette Villarreal, Executive Director of Kings United Way, shares Callahan’s sentiments. “We are so grateful for the support from friends and neighbors who understand our Live United creed,” says Villarreal. “This large anonymous gift, in particular, will go so far in helping many families. Yet the work we’re doing is on-going. People need more than one-time assistance to get them through. They need ongoing access to resources and we will continue to partner with local and regional stakeholders as we rebuild and recover from this pandemic.”

Many businesses, organizations, and community leaders have made significant contributions to the various mid-Central Valley United Way funds. Some of these supporters include the Central Valley Community Foundation, Aera Energy, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Golden 1 Credit Union, Health Net, the James B. McClatchy Foundation, Cookies Clothing, Fresno State’s Humanics Program, and Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, among many others.

If you would like to make a donation to one or more of the mid-Central Valley United Way Relief Funds, you can do so by one of the following methods:

• For United Way of Merced County, visit unitedwaymerced.org/covid19-1 .

• For United Way Fresno and Madera Counties' Coronavirus Relief Fund, visit uwfm.org/relief or text “RELIEFNOW” to 44321.

• For Kings United Way, visit kingsunitedway.org or text “KUWGIVE” to 313131.
• For United Way of Tulare County, visit unitedwaytc.org/donate or text “COVIDTC” to 41444.
“Money is awesome, as is people power,” says United Way of Tulare County Executive Director, Rosemary Caso. “We know this is an incredibly unstable time for many families who would love to give, but simply can’t. Volunteering time or even helping get word out about our programs on social media or through word of mouth is often just as beneficial to our mission as an organization.”
Tulare County residents who might be interested in volunteering can visit volunteer.unitedwaytc.org to get involved, while Kings County residents can sign up at volunteer.kingsunitedway.org . United Way Fresno and Madera Counties is specifically on the lookout for people interested in volunteering as application assistants or prosperity coaches. More information on those positions is available at uwfm.org/giveback . Merced County residents can apply to give or get help at tesseraktinstitute.org/mercedhelphub . All four mid-Central Valley United Ways have presences on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
“This pandemic is magnifying systematic issues that have been around long before Shelter-in-Place or Coronavirus or COVID-19 were words any of us were familiar with,” says Manuel J. Alvarado, CEO of United Way of Merced. “Supporting your local United Way chapter is a way to ensure your time or money goes directly back into your own neighborhoods and communities. It is our goal to unite our community together and assist those who need it most, as well as be adaptable to continued changes as we all get through this together.”

To learn more about how this donation is being maximized across all California United Ways, see this article .

KINGS UNITED WAY: Kings United Way works to increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another. We achieve this mission by working closely with local and regional stakeholders to advance the health, education and financial stability of Kings County residents.

UNITED WAY OF MERCED COUNTY: United Way of Merced County is focused on assisting our county in the current COVID-19 crisis and planning with non-profit, civic, and local leaders in the rebuild process for Merced County. Our major drive, Rise United, will provide:
• Funding to Food Banks and food pantries throughout the area to ensure that they have the food they need to distribute to the individuals that will need it most
• A delivery service to seniors and those with compromised immune systems which include groceries and supplies. 
• Working in partnership with local health care organizations to make sure they continue to get the things they need most during the crisis. 
• Rent/Utility relief to low income individuals in our area. 
• Establishing better channels of tele-education and internet access to rural communities by working with the local school systems and funding non-profits throughout the county to continue their work through this process.

UNITED WAY OF TULARE COUNTY:  United Way of Tulare County fights for the health, education and financial stability of all people in Tulare County. Since 1961, UWTC unites non-profits to individuals and families to basic needs (shelter, food, utilities assistance) and services. For more information visit: unitedwaytc.org .

UNITED WAY FRESNO AND MADERA COUNTIES:  The local chapter of United Way seeks to advance the well-being, education, and financial stability of all people in Fresno and Madera Counties. UWFM unites individuals and families with advocates, funds, private and government-ran programs, like-minded non-profits, and a vast array of other resources to assist struggling families and individuals with everything from basic needs (shelter, food, utilities assistance) to job development, resume creation, free tax prep, and more. The organization has held a presence in the mid-Central Valley since 1924. For more information:  uwfm.org.

211:  211 is a free and confidential helpline that helps people in need. Operators are available around the clock, 365 days a year, to offer assistance in 170 different languages. They can help with everything from basic emergency services to assistance with job training, translation services, mental health services, and more. The helpline is also available online at  211ca.org or toll-free at 1-866-559-4211.
Haley White, Director of Marketing
United Way Fresno and Madera Counties
hwhite@uwfm.org | 559-244-5710