United Way of Washington County has established a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response fund to help fund local nonprofits taking care of the community.

“While we don’t really know yet the severity of needs that our community is going to have at this point with COVID-19, we know that it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said Kristan Spear, president and CEO of United Way of Washington County. “We want to be proactive and establish a fund to help support those efforts (to help others) in our community.”

Spear said that seeing workers get laid off, kids taken out of school and the general effects of COVID-19 anxiety prompted them to start the fund, which will provide monetary support to 21 area nonprofits helping the local community. Spear also left the door open to extending access to funds to other local organizations if they have any surplus funding.

“We want our nonprofit agencies to really be able to focus, with their boots on the ground, on keeping our community healthy and safe,” Spear said. “We want to take the burden off them when it comes to monetary resources.”

In addition to donating to the response fund, people looking to volunteer can visit https://www.volunteer-united.org/, which lists volunteer opportunities from various local nonprofits. Organizations can also list volunteer opportunities on the site for free.

“We’re just trying to make sure we’re that centralized hub that people can come to and find a way to help the community, whether it’s by giving, volunteering or advocating,” Spear said.

To learn more or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit https://uwowc.org/covid-19/. One-hundred percent of donations will go to nonprofit programs helping Washington Countians affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“If we don’t be proactive about this, then our community will not recover quickly,” Spear said.

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