In total, $310,056.27 has been awarded to 34 nonprofit organizations from the United Community Relief Fund. 

LAKELAND, FL (April 30, 2020) – 
The United Way of Central Florida and GiveWell Community Foundation announced today the initial round of United Community Relief Fund grant recipients. In total, $310,056.27 was awarded to the following nonprofit organizations:

  • Bartow Church Service Center – $10,000 for food, shelter assistance and childcare.
  • Caring People Recoveries – $7,000 for shelter assistance.
  • Catholic Charities of Central Florida – $10,000 for food, basic needs and utilities through the Polk County Senior Services program.
  • Champion for Children Foundation – $10,000 for food, utilities and shelter assistance.
  • Children’s Home Society of Florida – $2,032.27 for health and medical supplies.
  • Explorations V Children’s Museum – $10,000 for childcare for essential workers.
  • Faith in Action North Lakeland – $10,000 for food and basic supplies for seniors.
  • Faith Without Works – $5,000 for childcare for essential workers.
  • Faith Xtreme – $10,000 for food for families without transportation.
  • Florida Baptist Children’s Home/One More Child – $10,000 for food for children & struggling families.
  • Frostproof Care Center – $10,000 for shelter assistance and food.
  • Hands for Homeless – $10,000 for food and health/medical supplies to community.
  • Hardee Help Center – $10,000 for provide food.
  • Harvest Assembly of God – $4,000 for food pantry to community.
  • Heart 4 Winter Haven – $10,000 for rent/utilities assistance.
  • Heartland for Children – $10,000 for rent/utilities assistance, health/medical supplies and childcare for foster families.
  • Help of Fort Meade – $10,000 for rent/utility assistance and emergency food.
  • Blessings and Hope Food Pantry – $10,000 for food pantry to community.
  • KidsPack – $6,600 for food for children.
  • Lake Wales Care Center – $10,000 for food and shelter assistance.
  • Lakeland Habitat for Humanity – $9,724 for shelter assistance to community.
  • Lighthouse Ministries – $10,000 for shelter and food to community.
  • Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine – $10,000 for health and medical care.
  • Meals on Wheels of Polk County – $10,000 for food to seniors.
  • Mulberry Community Service Center – $10,000 for shelter and utility assistance.
  • Nuevo Comienzo Resource Center – $10,000 for food and personal care items.
  • NU-Hope – $10,000 for food to seniors.
  • Nurse Family Partnership Highlands – $10,000 for food and personal care items.
  • Peace River Center – $10,000 for health/medical equipment.
  • Talbot House Ministries –$10,000 for food and shelter for homeless.
  • The Salvation Army of East Polk – $5,700 for food, supplies and shelter for women and children.
  • Volunteers in Service to the Elderly – $10,000 for food to the elderly.
  • The Way Center – $10,000 for emergency lodging and rent assistance.
  • Women’s Care Center of Bartow – $10,000 for food, shelter assistance and childcare.

The United Community Relief Fund was established in March 2020 to support local nonprofit organizations serving those most vulnerable to the economic and health-related impacts triggered by a community crisis. GiveWell Community Foundation (GWCF) and United Way of Central Florida (UWCF) have collaborated to raise money for the Fund and identify potential grant recipients.

The distribution of resources from the United Community Relief Fund is guided by a committee comprised of GWCF and UWCF staff and volunteer leaders to address the most immediate and urgent needs within the community. Nonprofits were invited to submit grant requests in early April.

“There are many individuals in our community who have been impacted medically and financially by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Christina Criser Jackson, president and CEO of UWCF. “I am continuously inspired by the American spirit and all of those who have rallied and contributed to helping those less fortunate. These investments will go to agencies on the front line to make a direct impact.”

“We are extremely thankful for the individuals who are making such great sacrifices to provide necessary services for our community,” said GWCF president and CEO John Attaway. “Thank you to the donors who have made such generous contributions to help others. Your support will allow us to respond quickly to the community’s developing needs.”

A second phase of fundraising for the United Community Relief Fund is underway. So far, more than $125,000 has been raised for the next round of grants to local nonprofits.

To learn more and to donate to the United Community Relief Fund, please visit unitedcommunityrelief.org.


Individuals and families impacted and in need of support can contact United Way’s 2-1-1 Information and Referral Center for quick access to resources and aid available in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties. Connect to 2-1-1 by phone, text message, online chat or email. 2-1-1 is a valuable tool that is available 24-hours and 7 days-a-week. 

About the United Way of Central Florida
United Way of Central Florida works to improve lives and strengthen our community by identifying gaps in services and providing solutions. UWCF works with qualified partners to improve the health, education and financial stability of people in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties. United Way works to amplify donor dollars with local matches, convene partners to improve efficiencies and broker services that produce the best return on investment in the areas of most critical need. United Way believes no one can do their best if they are hungry, sick or in pain. To learn more, visit uwcf.org or call 863-648-1500. 

About the GiveWell Community Foundation
GiveWell Community Foundation works with individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits to build a stronger community throughout Polk, Hardee, and Highlands county and beyond through charitable funds and competitive grant cycles. The Foundation is home to more than 300 charitable funds and the Impact Polk and Empower Polk grant cycles. GWCF has awarded of $209 million in grants since its founding in 1997. To learn more about GWCF, visit givecf.org or call 863-683-3131.

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