Northumberland United Way distributes critical dollars to agencies in need during pandemic

One of the largest contributors to funding local social services outside of government is the United Way. The contributions it makes in Northumberland ensure critical resources to address poverty, homelessness, troubled youth or children are well-known for 50 years.

When the pandemic hit the region, once more it stepped up to address urgent needs. Through its COVID-19 Community Relief Fund, it quickly raised $23,000, which was immediately directed to helping the most vulnerable.

But, that was not all. The federal government announced a $350 million fund to help charities and agencies provide essential social services in the community. The United Way was one of the organizations chosen to distribute this money to key community groups facing financial hardship but needed to maintain vital services. The Northumberland United Way received $282,000 to hand out. And while it brings much-needed relief to those critical groups, it is also a major change in how the United Way does its business. Fundraising for many groups that provide essential services in the community are facing great uncertainty, including the United Way. On this show, we have talked to many of them all expressing deep concern.

Today, I am pleased to interview Bobbie Dawson, executive director of the Northumberland United Way. She is going to shed light on the current efforts being made by her and her staff, along with the board of directors, to address the complexities of the pandemic on the work being done by the United Way and other groups to address the needs of the community. She will shed light on the significance of this new role in distributing federal funding. And, she will talk about fundraising. But, she will also share touching stories about the various agencies and people doing incredible acts of kindness and generosity, demonstrating once more how caring people are in Northumberland County. Her insights are so significant, I am dedicating the entire show to this interview.

Here is my online conversation with Northumberland United Way executive director Bobbie Dawson.

Originally aired: June 12, 2020

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