United Way organizations across Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia initiate joint campaign


A task force incorporating seven United Way organizations across the region has launched a $1.9 million fund-raising campaign to help address the challenges posed to families and individuals in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia by the effects of COVID-19 and the response to it. The regional taskforce includes United Way of Bristol TN/VA, United Way of Elizabethton/Carter County, United Way of Greater Kingsport, United Way of Greene County, United Way of Hawkins County, United Way of Southwest Virginia, and United Way of Washington County, TN. The funds raised will go both toward meeting short-term emergent needs such as food, clothing and shelter for those hardest-hit in the short term and toward meeting longer-term economic recovery efforts.

“As an organization dedicated to fighting for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our region, we recognize the impact this virus is making on our communities, but we also recognize the toll it will take on the financial and economic well-being of every person in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia,” said Travis Staton, president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Virginia.

“Our board has acted quickly, along with the other regional boards, to supply these emergency funds to our community partners who are on the front lines of this global crisis,” said Lisa Cofer, executive director of United Way of Bristol, TN/VA. The effort to coordinate the project began last Thursday.

Collectively, the United Ways are striving to raise 19 percent of the $1.9 million COVID-19 Relief Fund in the first 19 days. “Time is of the essence in helping meet the immediate needs due to the impacts of the pandemic,” said President and CEO of United Way of Washington County, TN Kristan Spear.
An online electronic fundraising campaign allows people to donate to the relief efforts for the pandemic. Givers can text NETNSWVARelief to 41444. Givers can also make donations at www.NETNSWVARelief.org, or by mailing their gift to United Way, Regional COVID-19 Response Fund, P.O. Box 644, Abingdon, VA 24212.

A regional committee made up of donors to the fund, business and nonprofit organizations, and health and human service agencies will direct the disposition of the money raised. Danelle Glasscock, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Kingsport said, “We are committed to helping our communities with long-term recovery efforts in the days to come following this global crisis.”

The idea behind the single regional effort is that by bringing the scale of seven United Way organizations to bear, more can be accomplished for every organization, family and individual who needs assistance, Staton said. “We will make sure that the resources we are providing are to partnerships, public and private, that will help enable children, families, and elderly folks that have been most impacted by this get the resources and support they need from health and human service organizations. We’re particularly concerned with those organizations and their ability to respond to those challenges due to the fact that they are nonprofits. They have now been limited in their events and fundraising capacities.”

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