Newsroom Update

Supporting Students During the Pandemic

As the pandemic continues, so too does the upheaval and uncertainty facing schools, students and families. COVID-19’s impact has been severe, particularly among low-income students and students of color

Our local United Way has been working throughout the pandemic to provide education resources to young learners and families in our region. While there is no substitute for classroom learning, our work has helped more students stay on track during this incredibly difficult period.  

Kindergarten Countdown Camp

United Way’s Kindergarten Countdown Camp is a free summer learning program for rising kindergarten students with limited to no preschool experience. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we shifted to virtual camps for summer 2020. 

Our virtual Kindergarten Countdown Camp ran July 6-30 and included the same elements that made in-person camp so successful. From weekly workshops with parents to new books and supplies for students, this program helped more young children prepare for the virtual school year ahead.

The Impact: 
  • Our virtual Kindergarten Countdown Camp achieved across-the-board buy-in and participation from families. 100% of responding families used our content at least one time per week.
  • We saw a 200% increase in the number of students and families participating in our 2020 Kindergarten Countdown Camp. 

Volunteer Opportunities

We brought together teams of volunteers to safely deliver materials to students and families.

We collected, assembled and distributed nearly 2,000 Literacy Kits for students in our region. Each kit includes school supplies, an age-appropriate book and information for families. During a period where many students were learning at home, these materials were more important than ever.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for quality outdoor play and learning experiences for young children. Our Steps to Success Early Learning Trails help parents, caregivers and communities use everyday moments outdoors to boost school readiness of children in their preschool years. Learn more and find a Trail near you!  

We installed and restocked 11 Little Free Libraries across the region. These libraries encourage children to read and provide families with easy access to new and used books. Learn more and find a Little Free Library near you! 


In the midst of the pandemic, we launched Ready4K, an easy and free text message information service for families with young children. Ready4K sends families three text messages per week. Each week, participants will receive age-appropriate facts, easy tips and opportunities for growth to boost their child’s learning by building on existing family routines.  

Ready4K uses accessible technology to give families new and different ideas for engaging with their children’s learning at home. Content is available in several languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese or English. 

The Impact:
  • More than 150 families receiving Ready4k text messages*
  • More than 5,600 tips delivered to families*

*Projected numbers through August 2021

Community Investments

In 2020, our local United Way served 28,721 number of children through $1,340,000 in impact grant funding supporting 29 programs providing education-focused supports. Click here to learn more about our community investments.

We Need Your Help

COVID-19 is not over. And its impact will be felt for years to come. Make a gift to United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg to help us continue this work through the pandemic and beyond.