United Way awards $154,417 in first round of grants from COVID-19 Community Crisis Fund


United Way of Central Alabama’s Drew Langloh announced the establishment of the United Way Community Crisis Fund to address the COVID-19 outbreak on March 20, 2020. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

United Way of Central Alabama on Thursday awarded 36 grants totaling $154,417 from its COVID-19 Community Crisis Fund to local nonprofit organizations within its five-county area.

Claims in unemployment insurance in Alabama have increased more than 12,822% since the COVID-19 crisis began,” stated Sara Newell, Senior Vice President of Community Impact for United Way. “There are serious needs in the community, and they are only going to grow.”

The first round of April grants went to  nonprofits providing direct services to individuals and families already at risk. Many of the recipients are churches or groups associated with ministries and grassroots organizations that address vital services and needs, including food distribution, medical transport services, prescription assistance, and emergency utilities payments.

A complete list of the first round recipients will be released when they receive official notification.

Grants Addressing Mental Health

Capstone Rural Health Center in Walker County will provide Telehealth Counseling

Two grants also addressed an emerging issue caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the need for more mental health counseling. 

“The social isolation of this quarantine is something that we are sensitive to,” added Newell. “We already have a gap in supporting mental health in our communities, so there is going to be an even more dire need as a result of the quarantine restrictions.”

To meet this demand, the COVID-19 Community Crisis Fund gave grants to Impact Family Counseling in Jefferson County and Capstone Rural Health Center in Walker County to purchase telehealth equipment. 

Impact Family Counseling in Birmingham will serve clients in Central Alabama.

These funds will help the two groups provide mental health counseling that meets social distancing standards.

Supporting Nonprofits 

In addition to these grants, future grants will cover the gaps that nonprofits’ budgets are experiencing as a result of the pandemic and their revenue stream drying up or diverted for immediate COVID relief. 

These awards will be made until the Community Crisis Fund is depleted.  Proposals that can’t be funded will be shared with a network of foundations and private funders  in the hopes that those organizations might be able to fund the requests. This will help limit the burden on nonprofits who are applying from completing multiple applications.

How to Apply and Give to the United Way Community Crisis Fund

Right now, applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, and awards are given out monthly.

Experienced nonprofit volunteers on United Way’s Community Impact Committee  reviewed the Community Crisis Fund Applications submitted:

  • Tracey Morant Adams—Renasant Bank
  • Rena Ramsey—Everett Advisory Partners
  • Marzette Fisher—ArchitectureWorks
  • Shirley Fagan—O’Neal Industries
  • Wilbur Johnson—Alabama Power
  • Leigh Leak—Baptist Health Systems (retired)
  • Phillip Coffey—Alabama Power

Do you know a nonprofit that wants to apply for a grant? Visit the United Way Nonprofit-resources webpage.

You can also contribute to the fund at:  United Way Community Crisis Fund. 

Sara Newell best summed up why the United Way Community Crisis Fund needs support.

“There is so much more need than we can possibly meet. We need help to continue to be able to make the awards these nonprofits are depending on  to be able to continue serving the public.”

Sponsored By:

Birmingham, United Way of Central Alabama

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.