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Chamber Notebook Article:

Manitowoc County's COAD

(Community Organizations Active in Disaster)


Manitowoc County's Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) was formed in October 2019. The COAD is a partnership of local organizations led by United Way Manitowoc County to coordinate disaster response education and timely dissemination of critical information and resources. Participants consist of nonprofits, faith-based organizations, businesses, schools, and other community organizations who can play an active role in times of crisis.


The purpose of the COAD is to bring together organizations before, during and after a crisis to best support Manitowoc County communities with preparedness, response and recovery efforts should a disaster strike.

The Salvation Army of Manitowoc County is one of many participants in the COAD. Pictured here is their Disaster Relief Canteen which provides emergency workers and those affected by the disaster with food and water.


  • Identify key stakeholders before a disaster strikes
  • Sharing of contact information in advance
  • Resources/capabilities of local organizations are known ahead of time
  • Roles and responsibilities pre-established
  • Reduce duplication of efforts
  • Identify gaps/shortfalls of disaster response and recovery services
  • Unified public messaging regarding volunteer and donations management
  • Improved referrals/disaster case management
  • Efficient and effective disaster response and recovery efforts


United Way Manitowoc County is both the lead and fiscal agent of the COAD.



  • Manitowoc County Emergency Services assesses the needs of residents following an incident and determines if the COAD should be activated.
  • If determined that the COAD should be activated, Manitowoc County Emergency Services will contact United Way Manitowoc County to facilitate activation.
  • United Way Manitowoc County uses a capabilities matrix to determine response coordination.


On March 21, 2020, just days after the World Health Organization deemed COVID-19 a pandemic and Wisconsin began its Safer at Home Order, United Way Manitowoc County launched a COVID-19 Basic Needs Relief Fund in partnership with Manitowoc County's COAD. This fund was created to support local nonprofit and community organizations. Our goal was to provide both immediate basic needs relief and long-term recovery in Manitowoc County, particularly for ALICE (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed) households.

United Way Manitowoc County quickly raised $92,877 from generous individual donors, corporate donors, and United Way Manitowoc County's Endowment Fund. (See our 2020 Annual Report for information on recipients.)


September is National Preparedness Month. What better time to support the COAD? The COAD is continuing their great work through ongoing disaster response preparedness and trainings in order to meet the needs of our community as a team effectively and efficiently. Part of this work includes raising funds for our brand-new COAD Disaster Relief Community Fund. Donate today!

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