Leading through a time of crisis

United Way of Central Indiana has adapted our work and deployed every available resource to ensure our team is immediately and directly responding to the unique needs of our community during the COVID-19 crisis.


To date, the COVID-19 Central Indiana Community Economic Relief Fund (C-CERF) has, through four rounds of funding, awarded more than $23 million to more than 200 nonprofit organizations in Central Indiana. In total, C-CERF raised nearly $24 million, and has supported partners in all six counties we serve. United Way was uniquely positioned to administer the C-CERF and is proud to deploy our substantial expertise and existing relationships to ensure this fund successfully accomplishes its goals. To learn more about C-CERF, visit covid19-cerf.org.


To support the rapid implementation of plans to fully scale remote learning capabilities for every student in our community, United Way of Central Indiana was proud to join as a founding participant in the Indianapolis E-Learning Fund. The $200,000 investment from our Family Opportunity Fund will help to ensure Central Indiana students have access to technology, county-wide e-learning and social-emotional learning strategies and a statewide e-learning lab. We also know how important technology and internet connectivity in households is to the success of children in their education and adults in their career success. Click here to learn more about the fund.


In partnership with the Colts and Pacers Sports & Entertainment, United Way of Central Indiana supported the fundraising campaign to support neighborhood community centers. Hundreds of local donors answered the call from Jim Irsay and Herb Simon by contributing to this effort.




As community-based organizations were quickly forced to adapt their service models and work environments due to the COVID-19 crisis, United Way’s Technology Fund became a vital resource for the network. Workgroup leadership, comprised of volunteers from Central Indiana’s growing tech sector, quickly pivoted to accept applications and disburse resources so our partners could purchase the hardware, software and conferencing systems necessary to continue serving our community during these uncertain times. To date the fund has awarded nearly $515,000 to 46 community-based organizations.


Immediately upon passage of the CARES Act, United Way of Central Indiana began gathering resources and guidance to share with the network of Central Indiana human service providers. In partnership with Barnes & Thornburg and LISC Indianapolis, United Way hosted two webinars and conducted on-call office hours with staff to help other nonprofits navigate the PPP loan application process and educate themselves on additional benefits and protections for nonprofits in the CARES Act. Click here to find recordings of those webinars and a detailed resource bank specifically geared toward nonprofit leaders.




In partnership with United Way Worldwide, we have been in regular contact with the state’s congressional delegation to convey our support for provisions in the CARES Act that provide relief to nonprofits as well as families in need. As additional federal action is contemplated, we will continue to advocate on behalf of our community partners and the individuals we serve. 


At the state level, United Way of Central Indiana participates in weekly calls with the office of Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch to update the executive branch on community needs and concerns. Additionally, we are working closely with FSSA to problem solve in supporting the transition of 211, and child care needs throughout the state.  


At the local level, our work with C-CERF is informed and supported by our long-time partnerships with the Indianapolis Mayor’s office and the local elected officials in the six counties we serve. Our leadership also provides regular briefings to the Indianapolis-Marion County City County Council.  




Our Strategic Information department is working closely with government officials, neighborhood leaders and nonprofit partners to visually map the gaps in existing services and work to quickly close them with the appropriate resources.


United Way of Central Indiana has been regularly surveying the needs of the human services network in our community. The results from these biweekly surveys ensure we are appropriately responding to emerging needs related to the ways COVID-19 has forced our non-profit partners to alter the way they do their work.







United Way is conducting a weekly call with leaders from community-based organizations to troubleshoot emerging needs, forge new partnerships to tackle unique COVID-19 related challenges and solve problems together as a network, in real time. Resulting from the success of these calls, smaller subgroups are now regularly convening to address challenges specifically related to seniors, youth, community centers, food access and homelessness.




Our team is working directly with municipal leadership and community-based organizations to react to emerging needs and reach agreement on how to best allocate resources and funds to prevent additional difficulties from arising.  Of greatest priority has been addressing key systems-level deficiencies like childcare for essential workers and hospitalized COVID-19 patients, food delivery and virtual volunteering.


United Way’s engagement team is working closely with Central Indiana community-based organizations to share their most immediate needs with prospective volunteers who can participate in safe in-person and virtual opportunities to give back in their communities. Click here for a full listing of current opportunities.