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United Way of Columbia County

As they reflect on the 2020 giving year, The United Way of Columbia Counties board and staff are feeling prideful of the variety of impacts they were able to make thanks to the wonderful donors and partners through a pandemic plagued year.

Starting with the establishment of its COVID-19 Relief Fund in March 2020, seeded by a generous donation from the Oregon Community Foundation, United Way has raised over $25,000 to support local non-profit urgent and emergent needs related to the pandemic. Ten project requests were funded through this fund supporting a range of things from personal protective equipment, food, basic necessities, utility assistance, virtual education equipment for low-income youth, home delivered meals for seniors and much more.

Another area United Way has been able to help this past year is its regular role in facilitation and administration of federal funds to local food and shelter agencies via the Emergency Food and Shelter Program under FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. Three funding phases have been conducted during the pandemic, and with United Way’s help, $78,507 has been awarded to Columbia Pacific Food Bank.

In addition to supporting critical needs in the community during these challenging times, one area United Way has been proud to champion is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program, ensuring our early learners, ages zero to five receive their free book in the mail every month until they turn five. Since the local program establishment in 2018, it has gained 1,632 early learner participants in Columbia County, and has distributed over 19,000 books. United Way has received overwhelming positive feedback from families, businesses, and citizens for providing this powerful program to our children that yields so many positive short and long-term benefits to the child, their family and to society.

United Way is profoundly grateful for its generous founding sponsors and partners. For the month of February, United Way is doing a “Show the Love” campaign to raise money for the program that needs community support to achieve sustainability. Twenty-five dollars is the ask and covers one year of books for one local child. No admin fees are taken from United Way, as the program is run in the goodwill spirit for our children.

United Way continues to support local partner agency non-profits, with annual grants to support specific programs in the health, education and financial stability silos that drive progress towards our vision: Columbia County will have thriving communities with opportunities for a better life for all.

United Way continues to listen to and act on the ever-changing community needs and is here as a cornerstone resource for our community.

To make donations, visit www.unitedwayofcolumbiacounty.com or mail to PO Box 538, Rainier, OR.

Claire Catt is the executive director of Columbia County United Way. She may be reached at clairec@unitedwayofcolumbiacounty.com or at 503-556-3614.

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