Did you know? More than one in three (37 percent) households in California struggles to meet the cost of a basic standard of living, according to United Ways of California’s Real Cost Measure study.

These numbers are most certainly going up during COVID-19.

United Way’s relief programs support working families impacted by quarantine or disruption of income and to support the coordination of community relief efforts, with special attention to those who were already vulnerable prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis.

This week United Ways of California announced a major donation to its statewide COVID-19 fund of $10 million made graciously by an anonymous donor. This follows the donor’s $4 million donation to United Way Bay Area in March. United Ways of California’s statewide COVID-19 fund is intended to ensure equity in the distribution of philanthropic resources across all of California.

What does this mean? The goal of equity in the distribution of philanthropic resources is why these new funds are being targeted to the Inland Southern California (Riverside and San Bernardino counties) and Central Valley.

For the Inland Empire, the Real Cost Measure study’s statistic of households struggling to meet the cost of a basic standard of living increases to 41 percent, and in the Central Valley, it is 44 percent, making both regions higher than the state average (37%). 

Who will United Ways help? Together, California United Ways will ensure funds raised during this critical time will be directed to help those who are the most vulnerable by the COVID-19 pandemic, including those disproportionately impacted such as: our homeless neighbors, low-income working families, individuals and students who are especially at risk of economic hardships and lack of access to healthcare and academic support.

How exactly does United Ways help? Wraparound services that go beyond government interventions, such as unemployment and stimulus checks, are essential building blocks to recovery. The United Ways in each region will plan and deliver relief efforts tailored to local needs, while also building from a shared framework. Much like during natural disasters, programs will be focused on response, recovery and rebuilding and will include the following core elements:

Do you need help?

For Californians in need of COVID-19 information or assistance: Please text keyword COVID to 211211 or visit 211ca.org.

For other U.S. residents seeking COVID-19 information or assistance: Please visit 211.org or dial 211.

Are you able to join us in helping others?

For those wishing to donate to the statewide California fund: Please visit: www.unitedwaysca.org/coviduw or text COVIDUW to 41444.