Lake County United Way COVID-19 relief fund passes $500,000

In just over a month, the United Way of Lake County has raised more than $500,000 from individuals, organizations and corporations through its COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

Kristi Long, president and CEO of United Way of Lake County, said Friday that officials are being careful the fund doesn't run out before the need does.

"We've got to go the distance for this," Long said.

So far, United Way Lake County has distributed about $213,000 to 14 nonprofits over two rounds of funding. Long said when selecting which nonprofits should receive grants, United Way focused on giving to groups providing emergency food and shelter to residents dangerously close to having neither.

"There are a lot of citizens in Lake County living paycheck to paycheck and many have been without a paycheck for more than a month now and who knows how much longer," Long said.

Long said she spends many hours in virtual meetings with officials from area nonprofits and government agencies discussing what problems need addressing. Based on what United Way officials have learned, the third round of funding will go to nonprofits and townships who are helping address mental health issues and the needs of senior citizens.

Long said the best practice when it comes to caring for seniors during the pandemic is doing everything to keep them in their homes. She said she has heard uplifting stories of organizations increasing the amount of meals for seniors to encourage them to stay in.

Long said groups helping those with mental health issues have also had to adapt by providing help over the phone and through video conferencing.

Lake County area groups seeking round three funding have until Monday afternoon to submit proposals.

Those interested in giving to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund can do so at

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