Letter from our President & CEO

As the news about the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) unfolds hour by hour we are all looking for ways that we can support our community. United Way of Eastern Maine has been assessing our role and what it should be in response to this rapidly evolving situation.  Given our focus on meeting immediate community needs as well as long term impacts particularly when it comes to basic needs for individuals and families we know we have a responsibility to respond.

We are all feeling particularly concerned about those folks who will miss time from work or lost wages now that we are facing a national emergency. In response, United Way of Eastern Maine has set up the COVID-19 Response Fund for Eastern Maine. Funds will be distributed by United Way to nonprofit partners working directly with those affected by COVID-19. We will begin distribution of funds immediately.  There has been a positive response from the nonprofit and business leaders we have pulsed on launching this fund. With our partners we have identified a number of key community needs that are immediate and urgent; we know that these will change over the period of the outbreak and into recovery.

This fund has been very generously underwritten by Bangor Savings Bank so that 100% of all money collected will go directly to our community. They have also made the first gift of $10,000.  As a United Way of Eastern partner I would like to invite you to join Bangor Savings Bank and match their support; or support this fund at a level that feasible for yourself or your organization.

United Way of Eastern Maine stands at the ready to support our community by doing what we do best, fundraising and convening.  Next week we will be convening our partners, virtually, to discuss how we can best meet the emerging needs through the funds raised AND through mobilizing other resources such as volunteers etc. One such example, already in motion is, the 211 Maine response.  211 Maine, a program of the United Ways in Maine, is partnering with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) as the premier option for Mainers to get answers to questions about COVID-19 at any time. This service is available by dialing 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or emailing info@211maine.org . We encourage you to share this information with your employees and customers who are seeking information on this topic.

Thank you for your consideration.  Please feel free to reach out to me with your commitment and/or questions at 207-941-2800. If there is ever a need for us to work together, UNITED, today is that day.

Most sincerely,

Shirar Patterson
President & CEO, United Way of Eastern Maine