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News & Blog2020-05-06T07:32:58-04:00

NEWS & BLOG

2803, 2020

COVID-19 Coalition launches local resource site, collaborates to identify solutions

March 28th, 2020|COVID-19, News|

The COVID-19 Coalition — a combination of philanthropy, government, educational, and business partners in Midland County— is identifying short- and long-term solutions to support the community amidst the pandemic.

Led by the Midland Area Community Foundation and United Way of Midland County, the Coalition has launched a COVID-19 online resource hub for Midland County. The site — located at www.reliefmidland.org — is embedded into the 211 Northeast Michigan website.

“There’s so much information about the COVID-19 pandemic scattered across numerous sites. It can feel overwhelming and confusing about where to go to access information,” said Holly Miller, executive director of United Way of Midland County. “This resource hub — reliefmidland.org — provides one central place for people to go to access local information and resources specific to our community.”

The site includes sections surrounding community resources, such as: health and wellness information, basic needs, employment opportunities, education and childcare, and support for small businesses. Nonprofit organizations can complete a grant application along with sharing organizational needs.

People can also sign up for essential volunteer opportunities and donate to the COVID-19 Response Fund, housed at the Midland Area Community Foundation in collaboration with United Way of Midland County.

“One of the first needs identified in our COVID-19 Coalition meetings was the need for a centralized resource for the Midland community,” said Sharon Mortensen, president and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation. “It is encouraging to see the work of the COVID-19 Coalition as it allows organizations to exercise their strengths and collaborate with community partners at an unprecedented level.”

The COVID-19 Coalition exists to investigate ways to fill funding gaps and support the community in partnership with health and human service agencies, school districts, businesses and municipalities. In the days ahead, the Coalition will continue to collaborate to identify needs and solutions, as well as streamline communications to avoid duplicate efforts.

Midland County COVID-19 Coalition Partners:

• 211 Northeast Michigan

• City of Midland

• Community Mental Health of Central Michigan

• County of Midland

• Dow

• MidMichigan Health

• Midland Area Community Foundation

• Midland Business Alliance

• Midland County Educational Service Agency

• Midland County Health Department

• Midland Public Schools

• United Way of Midland County

If you would like to learn more about resources and how you can help, visit the COVID-19 resource hub at reliefmidland.org.

2803, 2020

Community Connections: The power of coming together

March 28th, 2020|Blog Posts|

This is an unprecedented time.

There is no rulebook titled “How to Handle COVID-19.” There is no manual that gives us step-by-step instructions. There is no answer key. We are making this up as we go.

In times of uncertainty, it helps to focus on what we DO know. Friends, here’s what I know:

We have community that shows up when our neighbors need it the most. Every single time.

Mr. Fred Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

Midland County is not short on helpers. Especially in times of uncertainty.

If you need hope, look to our own backyard. You’ll see it. You’ll see in the school cafeterias, where volunteers are loading breakfasts and lunches that will get delivered so children don’t go without meals.

You’ll see long yellow buses driving up and down the roads, transporting food to families.

It’s visible in the volunteers who show up at Open Door to put together pre-packaged meals and even our own team working to fill the shelves at Salvation Army’s food pantry.

In fact, last week alone, over 20,000 meals were distributed in our caring community.

You’ll see people buying gift cards to support local businesses who had to shut their doors and many families utilizing food take-out and delivery to keep our local restaurants open.

It’s visible in our nonprofit agencies who are collaborating with each other and working hard to support our most vulnerable populations like children, older citizens and ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed).

It’s visible in the kindness, smiles, friendly nods and patience at local grocery stores and markets, even as we keep a healthy distance.

You’ll see it our labor force, who are now working from home, perhaps supporting their children’s education and practicing social distancing to protect our most vulnerable citizens.

We see how our local hospital is working to keep us safe, even launching a new telehealth service that was developed and deployed in under a week.

In contrast, you’ll see those brave front-line workers who are stepping into the crisis to ensure vital services and resources are there when we need them. We celebrate them and the risk they take every day to protect us.

You’ll see the power of people coming together.

Community leaders are working side-by-side to quickly identify gaps, share information and strive to eliminate duplication.

Businesses, funders and individuals are collaborating to provide financial resources that will impact needs of local people today and into the future.

So what do we do in these times of uncertainty? First, we take a breath. Inhale. Exhale.

Then we remember that we aren’t alone. We are united. We are in this together. And isn’t that the definition of community?

To learn more, keep connected and find ways you can help, visit reliefmidland.org.

Holly Miller, executive director of United Way of Midland County, penned this column as part of the Daily News’ Community Connections initiative.

2603, 2020

United Way Continues to Coordinate COVID-19 Volunteer Opportunities, Puts Health and Safety Plans in Place

March 26th, 2020|News|

MIDLAND, MICH. – United Way of Midland County continues to coordinate community volunteer opportunities in response to COVID-19 while providing volunteers with enhanced health and safety plans.

Per Gov. Whitmer’s executive order to “Stay Home, Stay Safe,” healthy volunteers can still legally assist those who are most vulnerable during the pandemic. This includes those who help provide food, shelter and other necessities of life.

 “Our top priority is to do our best to keep volunteers healthy and safe while meeting the very real needs of our community,” said Holly Miller, executive director of United Way of Midland County. “We are asking all volunteers to assess their comfort level, health status, and working smart. Maintaining health and safety is a team effort, and we all must work together.”

If volunteers feel vulnerable to exposure or do not feel comfortable reporting to their scheduled volunteer shift, Miller said they are encouraged to refrain from volunteering and notify United Way as soon as possible.

To combat the spread of COVID-19, United Way has collaborated with volunteer host sites to create specific safety plans for volunteer events. These safety plans follow recommendations per the Center for Disease Control, such as:

  • If you (or someone you have been in close proximity with) have shown symptoms of illness (such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing, etc.) or fall within a demographic that is listed as higher risk by the CDC, we ask that you refrain from volunteering at this time.
  • Please wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • Refraining from touching face and personal items after putting on gloves.

On March 14, United Way launched a digital platform to serve as a central hub for volunteer opportunities. Since the portal launched, over 110 volunteers have utilized the portal that have helped fulfill agency needs, including:

  • Nearly 15 participants received training to volunteer at Senior Services Meals on Wheels program.
  • Over 20 volunteers packaged meals and collected items for Midland’s Open Door.
  • Over 75 volunteers helped load and deliver meals throughout the week with Midland Public Schools.
  • To view and sign up for community volunteer opportunities, access the United Way volunteer portal at http://eportal.unitedwaymidland.org/howtohelp

The Midland Area Community Foundation and United Way are working together to continuously monitor the needs of our community during this unprecedented time. They have created a central portal to capture needs—people, organizational and volunteer. To submit a request, visit: https://form.jotform.com/200786004531043.

“Working collaboratively with United Way and the entire Midland County COVID-19 Coalition allows long and short-term community needs to be addressed to the best of the Coalition’s ability,” said Sharon Mortensen, president and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation. “By fostering collaboration we can leverage the strengths of our partners and make a greater impact during this unprecedented time.”

2303, 2020

Midland Area Organization Collaborate to Form Midland County COVID-19 Coalition

March 23rd, 2020|COVID-19, News|

As COVID-19 continues to impact our community, a coalition of philanthropy, government, educational, and business partners have come together to provide a collective response to COVID-19 in Midland County.

Organized by Midland Area Community Foundation and United Way of Midland County, the Midland County COVID-19 Coalition is:

  • Working with 211 of Northeast Michigan to establish a centralized COVID-19 community resource landing page. Links will be released the week of March 23.
  • Learning and investigating ways to fill funding gaps and support the community in partnership with health and human service agencies, school districts, businesses and municipalities.
  • Maintaining regular communication among key stakeholders to ensure a unified response and eliminating duplication.
  • Bringing stakeholders together to look at short- and long-term solutions.
  • Investigating and working to fill volunteer needs in connection with United Way.

The newly formed COVID-19 Response Fund will be housed at the Community Foundation to meet both the emerging and long-term needs of our community.

“The COVID-19 Response Fund provides a single source to contribute to community-based organizations who help meet emergency needs,” said Sharon Mortensen, president of Midland Area Community Foundation. “Those who wish to give back in this time of great need will have a targeted way to help. By working collaboratively with United Way of Midland County, and the entire Midland County COVID-19 Coalition, we can best identify those short- and long-term needs and come alongside the community to fill the gaps together.”

The COVID-19 Response Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand our community’s capacity to address this unparalleled crisis.

“In unprecedented times such as these, coming together for creative solutions is vital,” said Holly Miller, executive director of United Way of Midland County. “We are honored to work alongside our community to reduce duplication, streamline communication, and make an even broader impact.”

If you would like to learn how you can help please contact the Midland Area Community Foundation (smortensen@midlandfoundation.org or 989-839-9661) or United Way of Midland County (holly@unitedwaymidland.org or 989-631-3670).

Midland County COVID-19 Coalition Partners:

• 211 Northeast Michigan

• City of Midland

• County of Midland

• Dow

• MidMichigan Health

• Midland Area Community Foundation

• Midland Business Alliance

• Midland County Educational Service Agency

• Midland County Health Department

• Midland Public Schools

• United Way of Midland County

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115 Jerome St, Midland, MI 48640
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