With hardship, there is always hope.

We are often asked why we’re so passionate about the work of United Way. The answer is usually because we feel called to serve. That calling takes on a new meaning when faced with a community crisis.




That’s the word we’ve all been voicing every hour, as major events cancel, our schools and daycare centers close, and our lives change in ways we never predicted.


We are in unprecedented times. A disease none of us had ever heard of a month ago has now completely transformed the way we work, changed the way we gather, halted our travel, and without a doubt, will compound the hardship of too many children, parents, adults and seniors who are struggling every single day.


Community-based organizations – Salvation Army, Red Cross, Gleaners, Second Helpings, Horizon House, Wheeler Mission – and dozens more, have felt the surge of this need already. Earlier this morning, we were on a phone call with even more community-based organizations to hear directly what’s happening on the ground, share immediate ideas on how we can work together to share resources, and how we can minimize the potential hardship on thousands of Central Indiana residents. It was heartwarming and exhilarating to hear organizations already finding creative and innovative ways to collaborate.


With hardship, there is always hope.


Hope in the form a Fund to meet the short-term needs of our residents and the long-term health of our community.


We are thrilled to announce the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund, a new fund modeled from how United Way, funding partners, and organizations and the people they serve met the immediate needs of residents during the 2008 economic downturn. Donors and funders back then stepped up to invest in this fund when our economy turned for the worse, affecting thousands of individuals across our region.


The coronavirus is not just a health crisis. It is also an economic one – the depth and magnitude of which is uncertain. The speed with which the virus has spread and the measures necessary to slow its spread and protect global, national and local health continue to significantly disrupt our way of life. From school closings to travel bans, from runs on toilet paper and hand sanitizer to concerns about elderly family members, from a stock market with no bottom to a 24-hour news cycle that makes you hear about it over and over again, it’s easy to become completely consumed.


But we can’t. People are counting on us. When we think the going gets rough, the going gets really rough for others who are a lot less fortunate than us. What’s happening right now has required us to act swiftly and strategically – and we’re doing all that we can for those who count on us.


This afternoon, United Way was joined by funding partners Lilly Endowment Inc., Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Central Indiana Community Foundation (through the Glick Fund and The Indianapolis Foundation), and Eli Lilly and Company Foundation who together committed $16.5 million to the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund.


This is truly an unprecedented amount of support and we expect it to grow. If you would like to join us, we have established an opportunity for individuals to donate via text or online. Text HELP2020 to 91999 or visit COVID19CERF.ORG to contribute.


Thank you for your commitment to Central Indiana.