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COVID-19 Crisis Response


United Way in Action - Memo from the Desk of the President and CEO

"Find purpose and peace in serving others.  Let this be the mantra for a now mobilized Douglas County."

During these extraordinary times our community’s generosity and commitment to the greater good has never been more evident. The United Way of Douglas County stands shoulder to shoulder with our business community, non-profit partners and Government agencies to design and execute our community’s response and recovery efforts. We know that our vulnerable populations will be disproportionately impacted by this health crisis and will benefit by an intentional and coordinated response.

Non-profit health and human services have never been more visible to the public than now. They are the key to a secure safety-net and they are, at this moment, filling critical gaps in our social and medical services. They are delivering groceries to households; caring for the sick; providing the means to homeschool; sheltering the homeless; and counseling those in distress.

To do this they are expending an enormous amount of resources and calling on the community they support to in turn support their heroic efforts.

The United Way is answering that call in a variety of ways:

First, the United Way is lifting all restrictions on the use of its funding. Agencies sponsored by the United Way will be able to apply those funds toward the greatest need. Agencies may redirect money immediately to be used for new services in response to COVID-19, direct client financial assistance, or core operational expenses. The United Way will remain accountable for the use of funds through a continuous assessment of partner actions.

Second, the United Way will continue to work closely with the County to direct volunteers and resources to agencies that can make the best use of people and in-kind donations. Volunteer opportunities can be found at     

Third, The United Way will continue to leverage its influence, and the coalitions it serves in, to promote National and State legislation that benefit the under resourced. The United Way network mobilized in mass over the last two weeks through #Relief4Charities and helped Congress to reach an agreement on the third coronavirus relief package: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Your voice was heard! 

Read more about it here and here  

We are also working with Douglas County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). We are updating the United Way’s 2-1-1 telephone call-in line and Douglas County’s for public use, and we are supporting advocacy efforts regarding rent, eviction and utility payment relief.

Fourth, The United Way is conducting a “Covid-19 Non-profit Sustainability” fundraising drive to support the on-going work and viability of our local non-profit organizations. They are on the frontline helping the most vulnerable in our community and we are raising funds to support their services and keep these organizations running at full capacity now and beyond the crisis.

You can easily contribute through:

  • Check (United Way of Douglas County, 645 Vermont St. #590, Lawrence, KS 66044);
  • Text to give (send United4DGCO to 41444); or
  • Credit/Debit card ( then click on the “Donate” icon.

Find purpose and peace in serving others. Respond to the crisis, but also prepare for the recovery. In this most challenging time, the United Way is working closely with local expertise, local talent, and local support, to build a more resilient Douglas County. Please join us in this effort!

From our family to yours, stay in good health!

-              Jeffrey A Cornish, President, United Way of Douglas County