Skip to content

Community Resources in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

United Way and Rochester Area Community Foundation Activate Community Crisis Fund; COVID-specific Volunteer United Portal Channels Community Goodwill; New Human Service Support Hub Builds on Monroe County Systems Integration Project

Posted on March 16, 2020

United Way and Rochester Area Community Foundation Activate Community Crisis Fund;
COVID-specific Volunteer United Portal Channels Community Goodwill;

New Human Service Support Hub Builds on Monroe County Systems Integration Project
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – As the Greater Rochester region intensifies its response to the global coronavirus pandemic, human services agencies are becoming overwhelmed – by both an increase in need as well as an outpouring of support from community members.
In response, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, joined by U.S Congressman Joe Morelle announced the alignment of community leaders around a streamlined approach to provide needed resources to these front-line, community-based organizations across nine counties: Monroe, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates.
“In this time of great uncertainty and great need, our community is doing what it does best – coming together and working together to ensure the needs of families across our community are being met,” said Bello. “I am proud to lead a community with this much compassion and willingness to help and with incredible organizations such as the United Way and the Rochester Area Foundation, who are stepping up in the face of this new challenge.”
“Our community is strong, it is united, and it is resilient,” said Morelle. “Even in crisis situations, we have always come together to lift each other up—and today, that collective impact is on full display. I am incredibly grateful to the United Way, Rochester Area Community Foundation, and the many government and community leaders who have stepped up to support families impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.”
The number-one need local nonprofits have in times of crisis is consistent: funding. To this end, United Way and Rochester Area Community Foundation have partnered to activate a centralized Community Crisis Fund. Community members can donate to the Community Crisis Fund by texting CRISISFUND to 41444, or visiting
The Fund will rapidly deploy financial resources to nonprofits that are disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic consequences of the outbreak, and will support community and organizational recovery and future community emergencies.
United Way will administer grants from the Fund in partnership with Rochester Area Community Foundation and in close collaboration with its partners. The first grants from the Fund will address immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations impacted by COVID-19-related closures who face limited access to food, shelter, clothing, childcare, hygiene products, etc.
Funds will be distributed on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs. For more information on the Crisis Community Fund, visit
“This community does amazing things when we work together,” said Jennifer Leonard, president and CEO, Rochester Area Community Foundation. “As each organization and individual does our part, we make a collective difference that impacts us all.”
In addition to donations, community members across the region have voiced an interest in supporting local nonprofits through volunteerism and in-kind donations of goods. United Way has created a COVID-specific portal on its Volunteer United site, to connect well-intentioned help with specific agency needs, all while ensuring the health and safety of both volunteers and service recipients.
The COVID-19-specific portal, at, will list immediate volunteer needs of a wide range of regional nonprofit agencies. Agencies have just begun to populate the portal, and volunteer and in-kind donation requests will continue to be added as the crisis progresses, from early response through recovery phases.
“We are a community of doers and helpers. Facing such an unprecedented crisis, our community’s nonprofits have become overwhelmed by well-intentioned requests to help,” said Jaime Saunders, president and CEO, United Way of Greater Rochester. “We are excited to offer tools that help guide this amazing support in an effective way, and direct it to where it is needed most and can have the most impact: supply gaps, virtual volunteer projects and in-person volunteer needs.”
Furthering the coordinated community response, a new Human Service Support Hub has been created as a hotline and virtual response resource for local human service agencies. The Hub will provide real-time information and updates, offer connections to thought leaders and decision-makers, and enable information sharing in an easy-to-use, centralized and coordinated location.
The Human Service Support Hub builds on the work of the Monroe County Systems Integration Program, co-chaired by Congressman Joe Morelle and Common Ground Health CEO Wade Norwood. Housed at the United Way of Greater Rochester, the program includes a network of organizations and institutions across the health, education and human service sectors.
All human service agencies are encouraged to participate in the Hub. Providers will receive information on how to engage within the coming days. Those interested in joining or learning more can send an email to As always, individuals in need of services can call 2-1-1 – our community’s central resource and referral center.
United Way of Greater Rochester, Rochester Area Community Foundation, Monroe County, the Systems Integration Program and other community leaders and funders will continue to work together to support the Greater Rochester Region during this unprecedented time of community need.
About Rochester Area Community Foundation
Rochester Area Community Foundation empowers donors and community partners to strengthen our region through philanthropy. As the leading grantmaking foundation in our region, the Foundation focuses on two broad goals – creating an equitable community and strengthening our

region’s vitality. The Community Foundation has distributed more than $500 million in grants and scholarships since its founding in 1972. For more, visit
About United Way of Greater Rochester
United Way of Greater Rochester’s mission is to unite the good will and resources of the Greater Rochester community so that everyone can thrive. United Way harnesses the power of collective giving to unite community members, businesses and local leaders in doing good as they raise their hands, open their hearts, and share resources to build a thriving region for all. Through this collective giving, United Way supports a broad network of human service organizations, community initiatives and innovative strategies that address our most pressing local challenges with real, impactful solutions. Please visit to learn more.
About The Monroe County Systems Integration Project
The Monroe County Systems Integration Project aims to establish connections between 300 local health, education and human services organizations by building technology and establishing relationships across sectors. This project is a priority identified by the Regional Economic Development Council, the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), and others as a critical need for our community, as well as a key need and priority identified by people living in poverty.