Local United Way branches receiving financial relief thanks to Lilly Endowment

United Way of Greater Lafayette and United Way for Clinton County join a number of United Ways across the state of Indiana recently awarded with funds from Lilly Endowment.

Posted: May 19, 2020 7:23 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — As non-profits are working to serve the community, United Way is working to serve non-profits. United Way of Greater Lafayette and United Way for Clinton County join a number of United Ways across the state of Indiana recently awarded with funds from Lilly Endowment. The money will help ease the financial burdens non-profits are facing under the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We always have people that are struggling, that are one paycheck perhaps from being in a crisis and this has really heightened that and unfortunately brought a lot of those people to the crisis," said Michael Budd, CEO of United Way of Greater Lafayette.

Under the COVID-19 pandemic, non-profits have been working in overdrive to serve this new influx of people needing help. Many non-profits heavily depend on community support as well as grants, state and federal funding, but when resources run low, they turn to United Way. Now United Way, which essentially works as a financial safety net for non-profits, is also in need of funding so it can continue supporting non-profits.

"We are working on how do you balance the COVID-19 response and needs that it creates along with the on-going needs that United Way Campaign and other fundraisers support," said Budd.

Dozens of United Ways across Indiana are getting help from one of the largest endowment funds in the United States.
Lilly Endowment is distributing $1.3-million dollars to United Way of Greater Lafayette and $200,000 to United Way for Clinton County. United Way of Greater Lafayette will be splitting its grant with the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette, Benton County Community Foundation, and Community Foundation of Carroll County.

"We were able to obtain a $200,000 grant for Clinton County, which is really big for our community," said Anita Stewart, Executive Director of United Way for Clinton County.

She said a good chunk of these funds will go fast.

"Our not-for-profits are already contacting us saying, 'hey we need help,' whether it's rent, it could be medical, it could be mental health, it could be food, food is a big one," said Stewart.

Stewart said while $200,000 is a decent amount of money, it can still dwindle quickly. She said around 38% of residents in Clinton County are living in poverty and heavily depend on the county's non-profits for help.

Stewart said the organization plans to prioritize the funds into three categories: Emergency relief, for non-profits who need money now. Intermediate relief, which will be money needed down the line during the pandemic. Post-pandemic relief, which will fund rebuilding and replenishing non-profits after we get through the pandemic. 

Both Stewart and Budd say non-profits are doing the best they can. But community support will really help carry everyone through this pandemic.

"They ( non-profit workers) have the attitude of 'hey, I know things are changing, things are going to get hard but we'll get through it,'" said Stewart.

"We just ask those that can help, to pitch in either financially, or volunteering or helping a neighbor, whatever you can do," said Budd.

The Lilly Endowment has given a total of $36-million to United Ways across the state.

You can support United Way of Greater Lafayette here

You can Support United Way for Clinton County here.

If you're a Tippecanoe County resident in need of services, click here.

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