COVID-19

We Fight For:

COVID-19 Response

Thanks to the generosity of our community, United Way is helping families and people in need access critical information and providing relief to those left vulnerable by the pandemic.

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United Way Blackhawk Region 211 logo

Need help?

211 specialists can connect you with a wide range of resources and services. Simply dial 211 from your cell phone or landline anywhere in Wisconsin.

UWBR COVID-19 banner

How does United Way help?

United Way steps up whenever our communities need us. We have always been on the front lines for both everyday problems and crises, and the COVID-19 pandemic was no exception. We’ve always been focused on the underlying social problems, and those problems were magnified in 2020.

When shuttered schools meant children from low-wage families may not be eating enough healthy meals, United Way stepped up. When food pantries were overwhelmed, partially because people who used to donate were in need of food, United Way stepped up. And when people who’ve lost hours or jobs needed help getting by, United Way connected them to available local resources.

Need Help?

If you are in need of community resources, dial United Way’s 211 or Text COVID19 to 211211 or visit 211wisconsin.org/coronavirus

Mobilizing a Community in Crisis

On March 23, 2020, United Way Blackhawk Region announced a COVID-19 Action Fund to provide flexible resources for local nonprofit organizations working directly with vulnerable individuals and communities in Rock County, Wisconsin and northern Winnebago County, Illinois who were disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak. During times of uncertainty and crisis, people come together to support one another and COVID-19 was a test of our collective strength. Take a look back to see how United Way, with your help, rose to the challenge.


This crisis impacted nonprofits in many ways, including an increased demand for services, lost revenue due to closures and cancellations, declines in volunteerism, as well as other unanticipated challenges. The very groups we rely upon to provide critical services were understaffed and under resourced. Fortunately, United Way was uniquely positioned with our finger on the “pulse” of our region’s needs, and our donors knew that we would direct dollars to where they’re needed most, and that donations would be stewarded responsibly.

Due to improvement with the local COVID-19 situation, nonprofit stabilization, and the additional infusion of both state and federal COVID-19 resources, United Way Blackhawk Region’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to discontinue the COVID-19 Action Fund at is May 18, 2021 meeting. Our focus remains upon serving our most vulnerable neighbors and meeting our community’s critical needs and any remaining resources will be redirected or reallocated via the 2021-2023 Community Grant cycle.

COVID-19 e-newsletter Archive

Read the enewsletters that reference United Way’s leadership and COVID-19 response efforts:

COVID-19 Action Fund Grantees

United Way Blackhawk Region’s COVID-19 Action Fund priorities evolved as our region adapted to the COVID-19 outbreak. We continued to prioritize communities most impacted, recognizing deep and historic inequities that are magnified in times of crisis. 

Crisis philanthropy recognizes the need to provide immediate resources for triage, as well as the importance of recovery resources to ensure community resilience. The following nonprofits received a COVID-19 Action Fund Grant:

  • HealthNet of Rock County
  • Janesville Community Day Care Center
  • The Micah Project 
  • YWCA Rock County
  • Agrace Hospice & Pallative Care
  • Family Promise of Greater Beloit
  • House of Mercy Homeless Center
  • YMCA of Northern Rock County
  • Janesville Boys & Girls Club
  • Retired Senior and Volunteer Services (RSVP)
  • Latino Service Providers Coalition
  • Head Start

Media Releases

COVID-19 Emergency Grants

Separate from United Way Blackhawk Region’s COVID-19 Action Fund, United Way annually makes emergency grant funding available to its funded partners in the event of a disaster, catastrophe, or crisis.

At its meeting on April 2, 2020, United Way’s volunteer-driven Community Impact Council unanimously approved three emergency grants. These emergency grants pertain directly to hardships nonprofits are experiencing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Essentially, food pantries are not able to get what they need from their primary supplier. Instead, the agencies have to purchase, primarily proteins, from grocery stores. This is an unusual expense during a time when demand is significantly increased.

The following funded partners received Emergency Grants related to COVID-19:

  • ECHO, Inc.
  • Edgerton Community Outreach
  • YWCA Rock County

Media Releases