COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the funding partners for the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund?
The Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund was established by the United Way of Central Indiana to support human services organizations and the individuals and families they serve who are affected directly and indirectly by COVID-19 coronavirus. Its founding partners are Lilly Endowment Inc., Central Indiana Community Foundation (through the Glick Fund and The Indianapolis Foundation), Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation and United Way of Central Indiana.
 
How will the first round of funds be used?
It’s critical to ensure the funds get to those most in need as quickly as possible. The C-CERF Task Force has been listening to and working closely with community organizations across Central Indiana to prioritize needs and areas of focus.

To date, from what the Task Force has learned from agencies working on the ground to serve people in need, the critical needs are in the areas of:

  • Childcare for healthcare workers and first responders
  • Food access for those struggling to make ends meet
  • Homeless and shelter care that allows for safe health practices
  • Strengthening access to resources for seniors and immigrants
  • Disaster planning and infrastructure support to connect people to services

Multi-service centers that provide basic needs and can be prepared to serve the longer-term economic effects of the pandemic on neighborhoods.
 
Who are the recipients? How were they chosen?
There were 46 organizations identified as fitting the funding priorities of this first round. The recipients were selected by the Central Indiana Community Economic Relief Fund Task Force, which consists of leaders from the founding funding organizations.

The Task Force and staff from their respective organizations have been in daily communication with a broad range of nonprofit organizations to better understand the most critical needs.

The Task Force identified the prioritized funding (bulleted above) to human services organizations in Boone, Hancock, Hamilton, Hendricks, Marion and Morgan counties.
 
How will recipients use the grants?
The funds are unrestricted to provide organizations with maximum flexibility to respond to a rapidly changing environment. It’s up to each organization to use the dollars in the best way to stabilize their service delivery and meet the critical needs during this crisis.
 
Are all or the majority of recipients United Way agencies?
The C-CERF Task Force represents and has deep connections with the broad array of human services organizations across Central Indiana. No preference was given to United Way accredited agencies.

More than 25% of the 46 organizations awarded funds through this first round of grants are not United Way accredited agencies.
 
How is the fund being allocated? What’s the criteria?
The questions the C-CERF Task Force considered were – what are the most critical needs right this moment? Where are the hardest hit areas? Where can we make the most impact in our geographic area, in the short-term?

The Task Force determined that the most urgent, critical needs were in the areas of childcare for healthcare workers and first responders, food access for children not in school and for seniors who are isolated from family, homeless and shelter care, disaster planning, and those most vulnerable to the crisis – children, seniors and immigrants.
 
Who decides how the fund is allocated?
The Task Force governs the C-CERF and how the funds are allocated. The Task Force includes leadership of the founding fund partners, including Lilly Endowment Inc., Central Indiana Community Foundation (through the Glick Fund and The Indianapolis Foundation), Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation and United Way of Central Indiana. The United Way of Central Indiana administers the fund.
 
Are the funds being used for normal agency operation or are they supporting specific COVID-19 efforts?
The dollars in this round are unrestricted and can be used at an agency’s discretion in order to meet needs during the coronavirus pandemic.
 
When will the next round of recipients be announced?
The Task Force is moving with great urgency to respond to – and begin to anticipate – what will be unprecedented challenges in our communities. We’re working with community organizations across all of Central Indiana to identify and prioritize needs.

In the coming weeks, the C-CERF Task Force will be working with nonprofit organizations across Central Indiana to listen, collect data, and to determine next steps. This includes the timeline and priorities for the next round of funding from C-CERF.

We will continue to grow the fund and distribute grants as quickly as possible while also recognizing that this will be a sustained process over months. Human services organizations in Central Indiana who have questions or want to know more are encouraged to send a message to covid-19cerf@uwci.org.
 
How can nonprofit organizations get considered for future grants?
Nonprofit organizations not funded in this first round can be assured that the Task Force and their respective organizations are working to gather information, listen, respond and act. In the next round, we expect that funding will be given based on more research about the needs of the community, as they change over time.

Where can I go to receive the most updated information about the recent announcement surrounding the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund?
Stay updated on all things surrounding the Community Economic Relief Fund on the official news and updates page.

You can also follow United Way @uwci on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
 
Where can I go if I’d like to donate, volunteer, or learn more?
Visit the Community Economic Relief Fund page to learn more about how you can get involved and support the fund as a donor or help community-based organizations as a volunteer.
 
Where do donations to the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund go?
100% of donations to the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund’s website will go directly to the organizations who are serving those in need due to the pandemic. United Way will provide regular updates on which organizations will be receiving the funds.

Funds will be prioritized for people who are struggling the most and those that might fall into crisis because of the economic effect of the pandemic.
 
Where should I go if I need economic support?
In Indiana, please call 2-1-1 or go online to in211.org to get connected to the appropriate agency for your need and in your geographic area.
 
I represent a human services agency impacted by COVID-19, a United Way corporate partner, or a United Way community partner, and have questions about the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund. Who should I contact?
If you are a human services agency and would like to inquire about funding, please send an email to covid-19cerf@uwci.org. All other inquiries can be directed to the Ask United Way inbox, where your inquiry will be fielded to the proper contact at United Way to address.
 
Will United Way employees still be available and working during this time and if so, what updates can you share on the state of any running programs or planned events in the coming weeks?
To protect our most vulnerable community members, we are migrating to a remote work environment beginning March 17 through at least May 4 and that all UWCI events have been cancelled or postponed through May. We will continue to re-evaluate the situation as we get closer to that date.

While most teammates will work from home, there will still be some team members, specifically those working on particular aspects of the COVID-19 Central Indiana Economic Relief Fund (C-CERF) that need to be present in the office to effectively execute responsibilities. This will be a small group of individuals who will be practicing good hygiene and social distancing.

All events through early April, including VITA face-to-face meetings, Leadership United, Tocqueville Society First Wednesdays, the Donor Appreciation event at Indianapolis Repertory Theatre and ReadUP, have been canceled.

Click here to see our most up-to-date return to work plan.
 
Why isn’t United Way setting people up directly with resources?
United Way is uniquely positioned to take a broad look at our community, find the gaps where services are needed for our struggling neighbors, and align the right programs, partners and funding to address those needs and solve those challenges.

For C-CERF, we will be distributing funds directly to the organizations with deep roots in the community and strong experience with those most impacted in order to meet the basic needs of our most vulnerable populations during this crisis.
 
How does someone find out exactly how much donated money gets out into the community and how much goes toward administration?
United Way is committed to financial transparency. Our reports and financials page lists information about how our funds are dispersed each fiscal year.

100% of the donations to the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund’s website will go directly to the organizations who are serving those in need due to the pandemic. United Way will provide regular updates on which organizations will be receiving the funds.