AUGUSTA — The United Way of Kennebec Valley is now offering a way for people to help their neighbors deal with the growing impact of the coronavirus pandemic — with just a click of a mouse or a text to make a donation.

The regional chapter of United Way created the COVID-19 Response Fund this week, hoping to raise money to help area nonprofit groups — even those who don’t now receive funding from the United Way — that are helping people deal with the growing number of impacts of the spread of the coronavirus.

Courtney Yeager

“I think people are looking for ways to help, there are a lot of us staying at home right now, maybe feeling helpless, that we don’t have a lot to offer the community,” said Courtney Yeager, executive director of the United Way of Kennebec Valley. “And that’s not true. People can donate to this fund and help their neighbors address their most basic needs.”

Money raised in the new fund will be distributed quickly to nonprofit organizations working directly to help local people address their basic needs — such as the need for food, heat, shelter and child care — especially since some people are out of work. Some businesses and organizations needed to shut down because of the virus.

Donations to the fund may be made by donating online at or texting “GIVEKV” to 315-9270.

“We are feeling particularly concerned about people who rely on local nonprofits for help with basic needs, including food, heat, shelter and child care,” Yeager said. “We all want to make sure that homebound seniors continue to receive meal deliveries, shelters keep their doors open, and children are fed in light of school closures.


“This is really intended to support nonprofits doing that essential work. We’re sending money to them on the front lines so they can continue to help,” she added. “We fully expect all our nonprofits are going to see increased need over the next weeks and months.”

About $1,000 in private donations has already been raised since the fund was created Thursday. And Kennebec Savings Bank donated $10,000, which will serve as seed money for the fund.

While the many nonprofit groups that already partner with United Way have been invited to apply for funding, nonprofit groups that don’t may also seek funding to help pay for their COVID-19 related efforts in the Kennebec Valley.

Yeager noted the United Way has a history of helping to fund efforts to aid the community in times of disaster and crisis and that local nonprofit groups, without additional help, may not have the resources to respond to new needs related to the coronavirus.

“When times are tough people often look to the United Way for help,” Yeager said, “and we want to continue to be that source of relief and comfort to people in these unprecedented times of uncertainty.”

Given the evolving nature of the situation, she said, the fund is designed to be flexible and to get proceeds to organizations serving those in need with minimal bureaucracy and a sense of urgency. Funds will be released 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.

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