The United Way of Southern Nevada announced the creation of the Emergency Assistance and Community Needs fund on Wednesday to help those affected by the spread of COVID-19.
As of Wednesday, United Way had partnered with more than a dozen local nonprofits that provide assistance with essentials such as food, rent, mortgage payments and utility bills, President and CEO Kyle Rahn said.
“The role of United Way, nationally and internationally, is to convene, give, volunteer and advocate,” Rahn said. “And in the case of United Way of Southern Nevada, I chose to convene the nonprofit partners and some in-government entities so that we could adequately map what’s being addressed and what might not be.”
Rahn explained that United Way is creating an “asset map” to ensure that those agencies help as many people as possible in Southern Nevada. The organization will coordinate with nonprofit and government partners to distribute resources as necessary.
“This is a system that we’ve used for 30-plus years here in Southern Nevada. It’s done nationally through United Way as well,” she said.
The fund was created with help from NV Energy, Bank of America and the Wells Fargo Foundation, which all made donations to establish it. United Way is also seeking donations from residents.
“The purpose of this fund is so that anybody and everybody can give and get it right back out there,” Rahn said.
Tony Sanchez, executive vice president of business development and external relations for NV Energy, said the company will dedicate $1 million to assistance for low-income customers who will struggle to cover bills and reiterated that it would not shut off service or charge late fees for customers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want our customers at NV Energy and our NV Energy Foundation to understand that we are with them at this very difficult time,” Sanchez said.
The company also announced Wednesday that it would temporarily expand an existing energy bill assistance program as part of its partnership with United Way.
Brian Formisano, regional bank president for Wells Fargo in Southern Nevada, said at the press conference that the bank would also donate $150,000 to the United Way fund.
Rahn said Wednesday that United Way would be ready to start distributing resources and directing partnered nonprofits by Thursday. At the press conference, she said that about $170,000 had been deposited in the fund, and donations of “several million more” were expected or still pending.
Those in need of assistance can visit UWSN.org/COVID19 for a list of nonprofits and services they offer.
To donate to the fund, visit UWSN.org/donate or text UWSNFUND to 3131.
“The average person needs to know that we have phenomenal nonprofit providers that we partner with, and that if they go and get help, they will be given help as long as there’s money,” Rahn said. “And that’s why it’s so critically important that people give to this fund.”