New donor matching UWNEMN COVID-19 Crisis Funds

It took less than a week for local donors to meet Northland Foundation’s $25,000 match for United Way of Northeastern Minnesota (UWNEMN)’s COVID-19 Crisis Fund, and a new match has already been offered to help those in our region most impacted by the pandemic.

The Northland Foundation had offered to match donations up to $25,000 last Friday, and thanks to donations from Twin Metals, individuals, and a large anonymous donor, that was met by the following Tuesday.

“We couldn’t believe how quickly the match was met,” said UWNEMN Executive Director Shelley Valentini. “We were even more shocked when a new donor stepped up to offer another match.”

The Dwight and Lorraine Jamar Foundation is offering to match donations to UWNEMN’s COVID-19 Crisis Fund dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000. UWNEMN hopes a new match will continue the momentum growing behind its COVID-19 Crisis Fund as the organization looks to expand its outreach with the funds raised.

“When we started this fund, we wanted to bolster the efforts of local agencies working to help those in our communities as well as some of our in-house programs like Buddy Backpacks and United for Veterans,” Valentini said, noting both UWNEMN programs are in high demand and have both had fundraisers canceled due to the pandemic. “It’s become clear as time goes on that individuals in our region are also going to need support.”

More details on assisting individuals will be forthcoming, though Valentini said the entire process for individual assistance will take place online and will be specific to those laid off, who have lost their jobs, or closed their businesses as a result of the pandemic.

In the meantime, UWNEMN encourages individuals in need of assistance to dial 2-1-1 to connect with United Way’s 24-hour helpline in Minnesota. The organization has also compiled a list of local resources offering assistance on everything from food to utilities to childcare.

UWNEMN’s COVID-19 Crisis Fund is a special fund that will have no administrative costs associated with it, so 100% of donations made to the fund will go directly to local programs, agencies, and individuals in need.


Valentini estimates that $200,000 will need to be raised in order to adequately make an impact in our region. So far, UWNEMN has raised around $60,000 for Iron Range efforts thanks to donations from individuals, the Virginia Community Foundation, the Northland Foundation, Twin Metals, and an anonymous donor.  A separate fund is being generated in Koochiching County to aid individuals in that region.

To donate to the UWNEMN COVID-19 Crisis Fund, click here. Donations can also be mailed directly to 608 East Drive, Chisholm, MN 55719.