Funding Impact: January-June 2020
United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg is a major funder to more than 50 local organizations, providing millions of dollars annually to a range of agencies working on the front lines to create lasting change in communities throughout the region.
We are currently in the first year of a three-year funding cycle that will deliver $8.7 million in funding for 74 programs at 54 local nonprofits.
United Way Funding Impact, January 1 – June 30, 2020*
From January 1 through June 30, 2020, United Way’s funding empowered local nonprofits to help 45,881 people in our area.
Stories of Impact – January-June, 2020
Our funded partners shared stories of impact after six months of receiving funding from United Way. Click below to read testimonials from three of our partners.
“This year ART 180 has had to transition our Community Programs, once held at our partner sites (schools and youth organizations), to an online space. This was a dramatic change for all involved, but we have found ways of engaging online that mirror the unique mentorship and creative youth development opportunities of our past programs. One of the most surprising changes we have seen is with those softly spoken youth that would participate in our on-site session, but from the corners of the rooms or through the lines of the pencil, never fully in front of their peers. Virtually, these seemingly quiet youth have taken ownership in the program. They have become the leaders that we always knew they could be. One youth in our Binford Middle School program seemed to blossom from her home space. This youth helped direct group conversations and engaged fully in the icebreakers, reflections and projects.
This participant has been in school/ teacher/peer altercations 27+ times in the past year or so and was on her way to an alternative school. Our partner brought her into the program because she believed this might be a way to connect with her. We have seen a positive shift in the participant through her participation in our online programs. She has attended all of the virtual programs and been very active and helpful. It has been a significant change from her in-school behavior and our partner has mentioned multiple times how exciting and surprising it is to see the transformation in this youth.
Her mother also reflected on the impact ART 180’s online programs have made on her daughter. ‘She loves the program. I never knew how much of an artist she is until she began the program. She has a big interest in art. She loves ART 180 because she’s able to express herself! Thanks so much for the positive experience!'”
“This program supported some of our most vulnerable and marginalized, LGBTQ+ youth — those teetering on the edge of housing stability. The pandemic made inequities and need all the starker and more real. With this grant we were able to develop the LGBTQ+ Housing Collaborative and even fast-track an important partnership with Virginia Home for Boys and Girls that will provide ongoing safe, emergency housing support for young people in need both now and long after COVID-19. But the real success is in the incredible difference we make in the lives of young people who otherwise had nowhere else to turn.
One young person who originally connected to Side by Side’s Host Home program and graduated in September 2019, was really struggling in April 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19 on his income. His roommates had broken their lease. He was able to use the coping skills learned through our program and to reconnect with the Peer Navigator to maintain his independence and provide the boost he needed to find a stable place to live and move forward without returning to the streets.
Another youth who graduated from the Host Home in February 2020, stayed connected to the program demonstrating a keen increase in their money management evidenced by their reported savings. They had also widened their network of support to bolster their social-emotional health. When they came back to us, it was because they had chosen to prioritize the money they’d saved on repairing their car so they could get to work instead of spending it on food. They had already done everything they could to sustain their stability. A little emergency grocery support from us allowed them to stay safe, healthy, working, and in their home.”
“During this time of caution and physical distancing due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, seniors are at particular risk of becoming increasingly isolated. A recent study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that social isolation affects nearly 1 in 5 older adults. Social isolation, according to the study, is as bad for health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness and social isolation were found to be associated with greater risk of heart disease and earlier onset of dementia.
One way [Better Housing Coalition is] working to combat this isolation for seniors at Lincoln Mews and North Oak is with a pen pal program. Through working collaboratively with our external affairs department, we have been able to connect senior residents at Lincoln Mews and North Oak Apartments with pen pal volunteers. This provides seniors the opportunity to make a new friend, strengthen their support system, and exercise their minds. Additionally, having a pen pal allows residents to look forward to correspondence and to initiate contact when feeling lonely. Letter writing can enhance cognitive functioning by strengthening memory and communication skills. The act of writing can also increase dexterity as using one’s hands daily can often alleviate arthritis and other joint pain.
One resident received a letter in the mail from her pen pal who wrote about the activities she is doing throughout the COVID-19 stay at home order to keep busy and engaged. She wrote about activities such as reading books, baking bread, taking walks and coloring. This resident was able to gain some new ideas and share about her experience of the pandemic. As the letter writing continues, we are looking forward to seeing these pen pal relationships flourish!”
Our community’s most pressing issues inform our funding decisions. Click below to see three of our focus areas this year and the numbers behind them.