FROM: Jeannie Montano, President & CEO, United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region

Live United is not just a slogan for us, but a way of life. Events this past week have shown in a tragic way how devastating it is when we are not united together.

We know that people in our community are hurting. They may encounter racism and discrimination in subtle or obvious ways every day. What we are doing is listening to their fear and anger, hearing the pain of old and new wounds and facing the fact that together we have to consciously change the conditions that are hurting our Black- and Brown-selves -- our coworkers, friends, family members, neighbors.

Now, the pandemic has added the stress of the loss of work or the fear of losing employment as businesses struggle to survive, and indeed the fear of falling ill or dying of this virus, to those already feeling the debilitating effects of racism and discrimination.

Before COVID-19, United Way of NYS's ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Report showed that more than half of New York State's African American households (61%) fell below the Basic ALICE Threshold. Every day each family has to make life changing, heart-breaking decisions as they cannot afford the basics of life. It might be a choice between buying food for their family or asthma medicine for their daughter. Or between paying a utility bill or the rent. Now these choices are even more difficult with COVID-19. However these choices seem insignificant when our friends also fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones because of the color of their skin.

This. Is. Not. Fair.

At United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region we stand together with you - UNITED - to create change for the health, education, financial stability and equal access to opportunity for all.

Let us all be able to say - as so many in our community are doing today - that we LIVE UNITED and stand for one another every day.
United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region responds to COVID-19 in our community. We are using your donations immediately to provide critical help every day through the crisis and now during the recovery.
Since last week we have

  • Helped feed 20,000 people in our community, many of whom are asking for help for the first time as they are still out of work.

  • Helped stock the nurseries, of two young families whose parents are out of work, with the essential baby items they need for their children's health, including diapers, baby wipes and clothing.

  • We helped provide kitchen items - from pots and pans to utensils - for a family that found itself homeless and is now transitioning into permanent housing.

  • We administered $321,000 in grants to 21 nonprofits to provide support for soup kitchens and pantries, keeping the lights on and preventing evictions though Phase 37 of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program and CARES Act Funding.

  • United Way’s free confidential 24/7 2-1-1 Helpline has received 10,767 COVID-19 related calls over the past 12 weeks. 

  • On Fridays in June we will be offering nonprofit, school and church representatives a No Contact Day of Sharing. Contact Rebecca Lull ( or 845-471-1900 ext 3113) for more information about this program. Arrangements must be made in advance.

  • During June, United Way offers virtual and socially distanced volunteer activities for the whole family around our traditional Day of Action:

  • Nonprofit staff and key volunteers are invited to join United Way for the Virtual Nonprofit Staff Development Training, "Rebuilding for a Stronger Tomorrow," on June 18. Register now:

  • Let us all come together on June 24 at 6:00pm for the Virtual Celebration of Service Awards as we salute our community during these difficult times. Prizes will be awarded during the celebration! Register now:

  • Thank you for helping us deliver help to over 70,000 people in Dutchess and Orange counties since March 12. Together we are #DOCommunityStrong against COVID-19.

and we are continuing to respond to the daily needs of our community as the situation evolves.
Thank you! With your help we are making a difference in people's lives every day! For more information:
There is a new financial incentive for Americans to give generously to qualifying charities, including United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region and many of our community partners. The new universal tax break for charitable donations was included in the final $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package signed into law last week and will go into effect starting with the 2020 tax year. The measure grants taxpayers an above-the-line deduction for up to $300 in charitable donations given in 2020. For example, if you take the standard deduction and give $300 to charity, you will get a $300 tax break in addition to the standard deduction.
Thanks to the following for their support of our community through United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region’s Dutchess Orange Community Strong COVID-19 Fund:
And with thanks for support from our media partners