United Way starts community response fund to help local nonprofits

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Since the start of the pandemic, the United Way has seen a 300% increase in requested services. In response, the organization is starting the United We Stand, COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

The community response fund will help provide up to $25,000 in financial assistance to 501(c)(3) nonprofit agencies, allowing them to purchase supplies and offer needed services. To date, the foundation has raised $1,300 within the community, and the United Way of the Black Hills board of directors has now approved the allocation of an additional $100,000 in funding.

Jamie Toennies, Exec. Dir. for United Way, said “I’d like to be clear, this is a specialized fundraising campaign, completely separate from or normal annual united way campaign. These funds will only be used for pandemic response related grants.”

To lend a hand, Black Hills Energy has also offered a one-to-one match on all donations received up to $25,000. The company is also setting aside funds for community relief efforts.

Linn Evans, President and C.E.O. of Black Hills Energy, said “Yesterday black hills energy announced a corporate wide commitment of $375,000 for immediate relief efforts across the 8 states that we proudly serve, including more than $100,000 as designated for relief efforts right here in our Black Hills service territory.”

Any nonprofit serving the Black Hills can apply for the grant, including those dealing with basic needs, mental health and educational support.

The funds must be used for pandemic response related grants.

“We had planned on releasing some grants tied to that mental health work for the black hills community, but in light of the pandemic, our board decided that it was more important that we reallocate those dollars toward this effort before we launch those new grant opportunities.” said Toennies.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News