COVID-19 Response Timeline

At United Way of Greater St. Louis, our mission is to help people throughout our 16-county service area in Missouri and Illinois live their best possible lives.


During the COVID-19 crisis, United Way is providing immediate support for hardships with emergency access to basic needs like food and supplies, childcare for first responders and essential workers, and shelter and housing supports. Through United Way 2-1-1, we also help to direct and connect community members to resources and services to meet their needs.


United Way will continue to convene various community, corporate and government organizations to determine the most effective ways of helping our community survive and thrive.


Make a donation to our COVID-19 Response or to our United to Help Our Neighbors program.


A special thank you to our corporate partners for their generosity. Together, you’ve contributed over $2.2 million to help support so many organizations.


Visit 211’s website to find assistance and resources near you.



Friday, May 14, 2021
Access to safe, reliable transportation is a major barrier for some, and COVID-19 has amplified these challenges. United Way launched a new program in partnership with the ridesharing app Lyft to provide free rides to thousands of local people to get to and from their vaccine appointments. Thank you to The Centene Charitable Foundation and Anthem who are part of a group of national funders for this initiative. Read more.


Thursday, April 29, 2021
United Way awarded an additional $136,143 in one-time grants to 29 nonprofits in Missouri and Illinois that are helping to address our region’s digital divide to provide access to the Internet and technology resources and training. Since January, United Way has awarded more than $182,000 in one-time grants to local organizations to address gaps in accessing digital resources.


Monday, January 21, 2021
United Way awarded 10 one-time grants totaling $46,914 to local nonprofits, community agencies and faith-based organizations working to bridge the digital divide in the St. Louis region. In total, the funding will allow organizations to provide more than 150 youth, seniors and individuals living with disabilities impacted by COVID-19 with internet access and digital devices for virtual learning and continued access to critical programs and services. Read more.


Friday, January 1, 2021
United Way’s 2-1-1 Navigation Center received more than 190,000 requests for assistance in 2020, a 54% increase over 2019. The top requests for help were for housing and utility assistance, food and mental health resources.


Monday, December 14, 2020
Since March, the Volunteer Center has connected 500+ volunteers to 60+ virtual and COVID-related volunteer opportunities, resulting in over 2,000 hours of service to the community and $54,000 of community value.


Saturday, November 21, 2020
In its first-ever service project, United Way’s new United Young Leaders group collects 935 pounds of food in partnership with the St. Louis Area Foodbank, adding up to more than 760 meals to be distributed to individuals and families impacted by COVID-19.


Monday, September 28, 2020
United Way is partnering with the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County to help ensure more residents receive needed services to prevent homelessness due to COVID-19 impacts. Using United Way 2-1-1’s expertise in homeless prevention and utilizing newly implemented technology, 2-1-1 is connecting impacted families directly to more than 30 local service providers who have received funding through the CARES Act to help keep residents in their homes.


Wednesday, September 2, 2020
United Way recognizes that we are a steward of the community’s dollars, and we don’t take that lightly. Through our COVID-19 emergency grants, United Way required specific reporting and measurement of impact from grant recipients to ensure quality and accountability. Through its phase 1 and phase 2 COVID-19 emergency grant funding, United Way has helped more than 240,000 people across our 16 county region by providing:


  • More than 1.3 million meals
  • 5,430 nights of emergency shelter
  • Over 670 days of childcare for families of emergency responders and essential workers
  • Support for 14,298 seniors and individuals with disabilities
  • Support for 11,958 families experiencing wage interruptions


Tuesday, August 18, 2020
United Way’s United to Help Our Neighbors program, aimed to help income-interrupted workers and their families, has given out over $107,000 to more than 140 submitted cases. The majority of the assistance provided went toward rent and mortgage assistance for families and individuals in the Greater St. Louis region.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020
United Way awarded emergency response grants totaling $720,000 to 50 nonprofits across the St. Louis region. The funding will provide emergency access to food, medicine and supplies for low-income families and moderate-income families; temporary rent, mortgage and utility assistance; childcare assistance to help parents return to work; mental health support and counseling; and services for seniors, non-English speaking populations and individuals with disabilities. Grants ranged from $5,000 to $50,000.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020
United Way distributed $100,000 in emergency response grants to the following 16 organizations through a donation from a local foundation: Almost Home, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, FamilyForward, Grace Hill Settlement House, LifeWise STL, Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri, Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club, Nurses for Newborns, SouthSide Early Childhood Center, St. Louis Arc, St. Martin’s Child Center, The Women’s Safe House, Turning Point Advocacy Services, Wesley House Association, Youth and Family Center, YWCA of St. Louis. This funding will provide support for individuals and families in need of emergency food, personal care supplies and medicine, and shelter, rent and utility assistance.


Thursday, May 7, 2020
On Give STL Day, United Way launches the United to Help Our Neighbors program to help income-interrupted workers and their families with immediate and long-term needs. United Way will work with local safety net nonprofits and an assigned case manager to provide direct support and help these families stay in their homes, put food on the table, keep the lights on, find new jobs and prepare for the future.


Friday, April 24, 2020
Schnucks and their customers raised $250,000 through the Round Up at the Register in support of surrounding communities through United Way, with $206,000 of the dollars benefiting our 16-county St. Louis region. Thank you to everyone who participated for your support!


Friday, April 17, 2020
United Way awards emergency response grants totaling $250,000 to 22 nonprofits serving individuals and families who reside in Calhoun, Clinton, Greene, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair Counties in Illinois.


Thursday, April 16, 2020
United Way partners with Spire to manage its Dollar Help program, which provides customers with limited incomes with assistance for their natural gas bills. Spire announces a matching gift of up to $500,000 to the program.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020
With hundreds of blood drives canceled, the American Red Cross faces a severe blood shortage. United Way is opening its downtown office location to host a blood drive to help replenish the Red Cross’ local blood supplies.


Monday, April 13, 2020
2-1-1 is a free and confidential helpline and navigation center to help residents of the state of Missouri and in Southwestern Illinois find connection to resources and programs in their area. During a one month period from March 12 through April 11, 2-1-1 answered more than 25,000 calls, a nearly 200 percent increase over the same time period in 2019. If you or someone you know needs help, dial 2-1-1 or visit


Wednesday, April 8, 2020
United Way of Greater St. Louis receives a $250,000 grant from the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to deploying resources in support of residents in its Illinois service footprint in need of emergency food and basic supplies; interim housing and shelter; primary health care services; utility and financial assistance; supports for children and other vulnerable populations, and nonprofit safety and operations assistance.


Tuesday, April 7, 2020
United Way announces awards for 11 nonprofits through COVID-19 Phase 1 Emergency Response Grants totaling $205,000. These organizations are: Catholic Charities of St. Louis; Community Council of St. Charles County; Gateway Region YMCA; Madison County Urban League; Saint Louis Area Foodbank; Saint Louis Crisis Nursery; Society of St. Vincent de Paul; Society of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Boniface Conference; St. Patrick Center; The Salvation Army; and Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.

In the coming days, these nonprofits will:


  • Help people in need access emergency food and supplies
  • Help first responders and essential employees access safe childcare
  • Provide shelter and housing assistance to keep families secure and together
  • Serve needs of some of our most vulnerable populations, such as seniors, individuals with disabilities and children


Friday, April 3, 2020
Schnucks announces United Way’s COVID-19 Response Efforts as its Round Up at the Register partner through April 19, giving customers at its 78 area locations the opportunity to round up their grocery purchases to support COVID-19 relief.


Tuesday, March 31, 2020
The Greater East St. Louis COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) is formed with convening support from United Way and East Side Aligned. The COAD is launched to coordinate response efforts to the underserved communities of East St. Louis, Washington Park, Centerville, Cahokia, Alorton and Fairmont City.


Friday, March 27, 2020
The St. Louis Business Journal publishes a feature article on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on nonprofits and how the local funding community is stepping up to support nonprofits on the frontlines of helping people.


Thursday, March 26, 2020
United Way serves on the Advisory Council of the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund to help guide the grantmaking process and award $370,000 in first round grants to 16 nonprofit organizations serving the St. Louis region.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020
KSDK partners with United Way to promote the COVID-19 Response Fund online and on air.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A message from United Way of Greater St. Louis president and CEO, Michelle Tucker:


When 2020 began, I, like many of you, were full of hope and excitement for the</ future of our region. While I continue to be full of hope and optimism, it’s clear that things are different than we imagined. Now, we need each other more than ever.


I am proud to live in this compassionate, generous community. One that cares for its neighbors and believes in the goodness we all bring to the world.


As I reflect on our current situation, I’m humbled by the ways our community is supporting each other. Many are using their talents by doing things like making masks for first responders and others who may need them; many are donating lifesaving blood, giving money to support nonprofits on the front lines of the work or providing time to volunteer in important ways. Many are staying home to care for their families, and as we know staying home right now is critically important.


This is the way we are in community together. As a United Way supporter, you have created an infrastructure for our community to move forward. You’ve ensured that when people need food, care, counseling or respite, someone is there to help.


With this crisis, we are all challenged in new ways. And, my new hope for 2020 is that we rise to the challenge. That we continue to help. That we continue to show the same compassion and generosity we always have as a region. I know we will.


Monday, March 23, 2020
United Way has complied a Numbers to Know Guide as a resource for local and state agencies and resources providing assistance. The Guide is also available in Spanish. For further assistance, dial 2-1-1 or visit


Local county governments in Missouri begin ordering Stay-At-Home measures.


Friday, March 20, 2020
United Way begins hosting bi-weekly conference calls with its 160 member agencies to provide updates, information and resources related to the St. Louis region’s response efforts during COVID-19.


The state of Illinois begins a Stay-At-Home Order.


Thursday, March 19, 2020
United Way 2-1-1 and Ameren Missouri partner to launch the Coronavirus Income Relief Program to offer $500,000 in energy assistance funds to electric and gas customers across Missouri experiencing hardship from reduced hours or a job layoff due to COVID-19. The program received more than 10,000 applications within its first week.


The St. Louis Area Regional Coalition of COADs (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) hosts its first weekly call to share information and effectively plan and coordinate local response efforts. United Way plays a key role in all local COADs.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020
United Way’s Volunteer Center is supporting local efforts to organize emergency volunteers and volunteer opportunities across the region, including urgent, emergency and virtual/at-home volunteer opportunities. Visit to view available opportunities or request volunteers.


Government leaders across the St. Louis region recommend public, private, charter and parochial school closures and limit public gathering to no more than 50 people.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020
A message from United Way board chair, Michael Moehn:


We are in unprecedented times. And, while there is no playbook on how to meet needs during a time like this, United Way’s nearly 100 years of service to our community is helping us navigate these challenging waters now and into the future. United Way continues to monitor and respond to the rapidly changing situation, and I am proud to see how our 2-1-1 Navigation Center is working around the clock to field thousands of calls related to the impacts of COVID-19 on people across our community.


Through 2-1-1 and coordination with our member agencies, we are on the front lines to determine where resources and funding are most needed during the early and long-term phases of the response. We are proactively surveying our partner network and introducing weekly support calls to help our partners remain available to their current clients and prepare to meet the increased demands for ongoing and unique services stemming from the pandemic.


United Way is currently working to raise flexible dollars to meet some of the most urgent needs we are seeing through 2-1-1, hardship requests, and partner readiness efforts. This empowers us to have the funds to meet the changing needs of our neighbors immediately.


We are also partnering with the St. Louis Community Foundation and others on a regional coordinated effort to help raise dollars to provide foundational and sustainable support for our community as we grapple with the impact of COVID-19. We will work closely with the regional fund to advise and help distribute funds raised in the coming weeks and months to further strengthen the response and ensure sustainability during the recovery that will follow.


Now more than ever, our community must stand together and support one another as local nonprofits and other community organizations scale efforts to respond to the growing and unprecedented needs. We will get through this crisis but only by working together.


Monday, March 16, 2020
Launched United Way’s COVID-19 Response Efforts to support local nonprofits addressing the immediate and long-term needs of individuals and families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.


Sunday, March 15, 2020
Created a page on specific to local and national resources for assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. This page is regularly updated with new and additional resources as they are available.


Saturday, March 14, 2020
Message from United Way of Greater St. Louis:


United Way is dedicated to the health and well-being of all members of our community. Our management team is closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 in our region and across the nation to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers and the people we serve.



Friday, March 13, 2020
United Way joined a coalition of philanthropic and chamber organizations to create the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund to direct resources to regional nonprofits working with communities disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 crisis.


Thursday, March 12, 2020
United Way signed agreement to serve as a support to the St. Louis County Health Department. All COVID-19 Hotline calls are routed through the 2-1-1 Navigation Center.


Saturday, March 7, 2020
The first positive COVID-19 case in the St. Louis region is announced

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