OUR DERECHO RESPONSE EFFORTS

How UWECI is connecting those in need to life-changing resources

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For many in Eastern Iowa, August 10, 2020 started out as any other Monday.

Everything changed that afternoon when whistling straight-line winds, booming thunder, and torrential downpours completely uprooted cities and small towns across the state. With the support of numerous donors, volunteers, and partners from across Eastern Iowa the Midwest, and the nation, United Way of East Central Iowa (UWECI) is ready to continue creating solutions to respond to lead the long-term recovery process.

INQUIRIES ABOUT OUR DERECHO RELIEF EFFORTS:

  • The need is ongoing. Whether you’re an individual or a business, any amount is appreciated.
  • For interested philanthropic and business partners, please contact Kristin Roberts at kristin.roberts@uweci.org
  • For media inquiries about UWECI’s response to disaster recovery, please contact Shannon Hanson, VP of Marketing & Communications, at shannon.hanson@uweci.org
  • As a reminder, UWECI can only grant funds to 501(C)(3) organizations, not to individuals.

UWECI: Here for Our Community

Along with working as part of the LAP-AID collaboration to help our community recover, UWECI launched several community collaborations, spearheaded additional storm-related communications, and provided resources and funding to local nonprofits.

Major Projects

Disaster Recovery Fund

UWECI established the Disaster Recovery Fund on August 14 to support emerging needs through funding area nonprofits with derecho-related projects and needs. This fund is designed to complement the work of local health and human services nonprofits, as well as expand local capacity to individuals and families experiencing hardship. Within the first month, the fund raised over $1.1 million.

Raised +$1.1 million from over 2,000 donors

Project ReConnect + Expansion

Alongside the Alliant Energy Foundation, HACAP, and the Local Labor Management Cooperation Committee (LLMCC), UWECI helped launch Project ReConnect. This collaboration was created for Alliant Energy homeowners to receive assistance reconnecting their service masts, electrical boxes, and weather heads at no charge. This funding helped HACAP handle case management and dispatch electricians.
After discussion, Project ReConnect was expanded to support the Derecho Recovery Homeowner Program. The funds from Project ReConnect will provide Matthew 25 with a full-time construction manager who will identify and coordinate contracted and volunteer efforts to provide housing rehabilitation for derecho repairs.

Dedicated Manager to provide help with derecho repairs

Total over $100,000

Farmer Appreciation Fridays

UWECI designated $25,000 of a $75,000 Cargill Disaster Fund contribution to ISU Extension & Outreach to support rural farmers through UWECI’s Cultivating Community strategy. Farmer Appreciation Fridays provide storm and recovery education and support to farmers in Linn and Benton Counties.

$25,000 Donated to the Disaster Fund

Internet Hubs

UWECI partnered with Jane Boyd, the Cedar Rapids Community School District, and ImOn to create 5 different internet hubs around Cedar Rapids for students who don’t have great access to internet at home. UWECI provided personal protective equipment and devices for this project.

Provided PPE to workers and volunteers

Communication & Public Outreach

In the days and weeks following the derecho, UWECI became a part of Eastern Iowa United; a 3 television station simulcast telethon that raised more than $60,000 for UWECI’s Disaster Recovery Fund. We also created an interactive Derecho Resource Map as a community resource to easily find food, shelter, and other vital services. We reached over 50,000 individuals through social media platforms with derecho-related information and had 22 news stories contributed to by UWECI staff members.

Part of Eastern Iowa United, a simulcast telethon that raised more than $60,000 for the Disaster Recovery Fund

Derecho Resource Map created as an interactive community resource to easily find vital services

Over 50,000 individuals reached through social media platforms with derecho-related information

LAP-AID: Ready for Anything

Linn Area Partners Active in Disaster (LAP-AID) rallied individuals from nonprofit organizations and communities to expedite Linn County’s response to the derecho and provide long-term recovery resources. UWECI is the hub and fiscal agent of the collaborative effort of more than 40 local nonprofits and has many leaders from UWECI.

Major Projects

Volunteer + Donation Coordination

Within 24 hours of the derecho, Linn County Emergency Management (EMA) activated the Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC). This center, spearheaded by United Way of East Central Iowa (UWECI) as part of the LAP-AID collaboration, led the organization and recruitment of local and national volunteer teams to help with the clean-up process, as well as take in donations. We coordinated volunteers for all City of Cedar Rapids meal sites, coordinated intake of donations and secured a warehouse to hold them, as well as coordinated resource centers for 5 neighborhoods with other area partners, such as the City of Cedar Rapids and the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.

56% of volunteers helped in more than one volunteer category

1,350+ LAP-AID volunteers engaged in multiple volunteer opportunities throughout the county

12,947 hours worked by 2,589 volunteers, averaging out to 5 hours per volunteer

Communications & Public Outreach

In the days and weeks following the derecho, LAP-AID Attended daily press conferences to share updates on disaster recovery, volunteer efforts, and community collaborations with area officials and the general public, developed, distributed, & delivered essential communications on local resources through social media channels, the UWECI website, and the LAP-AID websites, and had 15 news stories initiated on volunteer coordination and disaster preparedness.

Attended daily press conferences to share updates with area officials and the general public

Developed, distributed, & delivered essential communications on local resources through multiple  channels

15 News stories initiated on volunteer coordination and disaster preparedness

To see the whole story of our efforts to help during the derecho, click here to see our Derecho response flyer.

Click below to see the full list of nonprofits who received funding.

Recipients A-G

Alongside the Alliant Energy Foundation, HACAP, and the Local Labor Management Cooperation Committee (LLMCC), UWECI helped launch Project ReConnect. This collaboration was created for Alliant Energy homeowners to receive assistance reconnecting their service masts, electrical boxes, and weather heads at no charge. This funding helped HACAP handle case management and dispatch electricians.

This housing program provides immediate security deposit assistance to individuals who are not eligible for any other housing assistance programs

Storm expenses incurred to continue in-patient services

Funds un/under-insured housing needs, relocation needs such as rent, deposits and moving fees. Replacing household items, repairs, mold removal not covered by FEMA or other sources

Replace vital client resources lost due to the derecho

Fund will be used to establish a daily after-school program that provides students with support in English-language proficiency, learning how to attend school “virtually”, showing them how to access content, participate in class, locate classwork assignments and homework. As well as help cover temporary shelter and longer term recovery support costs for displaced refugees and immigrants

Provides rent and utility assistance to those affected by Derecho with limited means

Replacement of therapeutic, play-therapy and skill building supplies

Recipients H-Z

In coordination with Linn County Early Childhood Iowa, help home and center based child care providers to increase quality of care through training, on -site calculation, child development activity kits, mentoring, environmental assets and technical assistance

Replacement of pantry food lost and for program meals and snacks and to create safe space with access to Wi-Fi and devices to complete school work in key areas of Cedar Rapids

Supports volunteers to remove trees, do roof work, and buy PPE for workers and disaster response crews

The funds will be used for rental assistance, utilities, and food supports for one-time needs such as tree removal, window repair, etc

Provide fresh produce for residents in and around Benton County for garden management and supplies

Provides for resource navigation for re-housing of clients to follow and provide help for 12 months

Funds received will be used to purchase food to be distributed to the increasing households impacted by the pandemic and the storm

Would you like to apply for Disaster Relief funds?

Please view the attached PDF and follow the instructions provided. As a reminder, UWECI can only grant funds to 501(C)(3) organizations, not to individuals.

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