Community Conversations: Support in Action


Starting fresh in a New Year feels great. As a community, we’ve jumped over some incredibly tall hurdles over the past two years. We certainly aren’t out of the woods yet, but progress feels good and is much easier to see as our community works together towards common goals.

Held last summer, our Community Conversations brought together individuals from across industries, social sectors, demographics, passions, interests, and more. That’s how to get things done: bringing many voices to the table to hear and be heard. And we heard of incredible progress in making our community one where everyone can achieve success.

In March of 2020, within one week our community had pledged over $10,000 towards COVID-19 relief for our neighbors and organizations in need. The UWSC COVID Response and Recovery Fund grew to over $160,000 by the end of the year, supporting homelessness prevention efforts, food, COVID-19 service delivery changes, sanitizing materials for local agencies to be able to remain open, and much more. Raising and distributing funds quickly was imperative in keeping our community running as safely as possible. With our breadth of connection and expertise in human services, we saw needs arise over night and were able to collaborate to find and fund solutions.

Our partners were also able to answer to the needs that propelled the demand for assistance. Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) received state and federal dollars to temporarily provide emergency rent support and extensive emergency utility support. In fact, MICA is still administering special utility dollars, while also opening up applications for their long-standing Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the new, parallel Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP).

We also heard from many partners of crucial governmental support programs that became widely available and utilized by many in our community. These included pandemic stimulus payments, unemployment benefits for many who weren’t able to continue working (or from business shutdowns), child tax credits, and more. As a result, we saw loan default rates stay low, some drop in visitor numbers at community food pantries, few eviction cases or landlord-tenant cases at Legal Aid of Story County (through summer 2021), and many other positive outcomes.

These are just a few accounts of the support system we as a community created and upheld during these trying two years. United Way stands to convene communities to produce solutions and, with your help, we’ve done that. We’ve helped organizations to remain open, we’ve supported families through loss of income, and we worked to ensure that food was available for those in need. That’s what it means to LIVE UNITED.

COVID-19 programming


Child Care COVID procedures