Early action ensured the United Way of Pueblo County (UWPC) was prepared when the coronavirus pandemic started creating economic and health crises in southern Colorado.
In March, the nonprofit set up its Emergency Response and Recovery Fund to address urgent needs, fill short-term gaps, and identify long-term community issues tied to COVID-19. So far, the Fund has brought in more than $240,000, with seven members of the community guiding the distribution of emergency grants to 30 local organizations.
“The economic and psychological damage of the virus have greatly increased the number of people who need assistance from the organizations and programs supported by the United Way,” says Shawn Shelton, chair of UWPC’s 2019 fund-raising campaign.
The support has filled the shelves at food pantries, kept childcare programs operating for essential workers, covered operating expenses at cultural institutions opened a mobile shower unit for homeless residents, and helped senior citizens navigate the crisis.
Bechtel Group Foundation supported UWPC’s efforts with a $40,000 gift to the Emergency Response and Recovery Fund. The gift comes from the Foundation’s special Bechtel COVID-19 Relief Fund, which addresses urgent human needs tied to COVID-19 in the company’s project and office communities.
Bechtel has partnered with UWPC since 2004, when the company was selected by the U.S. Department of Defense to design, build, operate, and close the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP). In July, the PCAPP team, which includes subcontractors Amentum and Battelle, was honored with UWPC’s Corporate Leadership Award for Excellence and Outstanding Coordinator Award.