United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties (UWMOC) launched the UWMOC COVID-19 Recovery Fund in April 2020 to address the unmet needs of people and organizations economically impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Thanks to generous donations from individuals, corporations and virtual fundraisers, United Way has distributed $70,000 to its partner organizations to aid in our community’s recovery from the pandemic. The first $20,000 in donations to the UWMOC COVID-19 Recovery Fund were graciously matched dollar for dollar by the Grunin Foundation and New Jersey Natural Gas.

“United Way’s strength lies in our ability to convene resources and bridge gaps for our partner organizations and the individuals they serve who will desperately need this help,” said Lori-Anne McLane, President & CEO of United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. “So many people have been economically impacted by this crisis, and it’s hitting our low- to middle-income residents the hardest. We are working to ensure that our community has the support it needs as we move through the pandemic together, and these grants are the first step in that process. After the disaster ends, United Way is there for the long road ahead.”

A competitive mini-grant process was opened to United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties’ current partners, through which a total of 11 organizations were chosen to receive funds. The first phase of grants totaling $45,000 for nine nonprofits will enable some to safely reopen, and also help approximately 475 individuals who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 with their basic needs. The recipients of the first phase of grants of $5,000 each are as follows: Affordable Housing Alliance, Mental Health Association of Monmouth County, Monmouth Day Care Center, O.C.E.A.N. Inc., Ocean County YMCA, Social Community Activities Network (SCAN), St. Francis Community Center, Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, and YMCA of Greater Monmouth County.

Monmouth Day Care Center (MDCC) in Red Bank is one of the organizations awarded a grant for crucial items in order to reopen in compliance with New Jersey’s COVID-19 standards. “A top priority at MDCC has always been the safety of our children, their families and our staff,” stated Heidi Zaentz, Executive Director of Monmouth Day Care Center. “During this pandemic it has become even more important, and UWMOC’s support made it possible for us to purchase much-needed supplies, including safety shields, PPE, disinfectants, and toys for individual children to use to avoid cross-contamination. We thank United Way for helping MDCC keep our families safe.”

A second phase of grants totaling $25,000 will be distributed to the Toms River Regional School District and NJ 2-1-1. Funding for the Toms River Regional School District in the amount of $5,000 will provide critical extended-day educational services and interventions to Cedar Grove Elementary School’s most at-risk and economically-disadvantaged students, particularly those experiencing a regression due to the limitations of an exclusively virtual learning environment implemented as a result of the COVID-19 virus. UWMOC is supporting the efforts of NJ 2-1-1, a health and human services hotline with critical resources for all residents of New Jersey, particularly those affected by COVID-19. A grant of $20,000 for NJ 2-1-1 will help expand their staff and resources to handle the increased call volume, which has more than doubled since the start of the pandemic. To date, NJ 2-1-1 has assisted over 16,000 Monmouth and Ocean County residents with immediate needs during this crisis.

In addition to the establishment of the UWMOC COVID-19 Recovery Fund, United Way has responded to the crisis by mobilizing its Financial Success Center Network to continue to provide important services such as connections to vital resources, budgeting, and money management through virtual and phone-based assistance. Monmouth and Ocean County residents can make an appointment by emailing info@uwfinancialsuccess.org or calling 732-414-6745 and leaving a message with their contact information.


Monmouth Day Care Center check presentation

United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties (UWMOC) presents Monmouth Day Care Center (MDCC) with a $5,000 grant from the UWMOC COVID-19 Recovery Fund to help safely reopen the facility. Pictured from left to right: UWMOC Board Chairman Bob Rosone, UWMOC President & CEO Lori-Anne McLane, MDCC Executive Director Heidi Zaentz, MDCC Development Director Christina Caccamo, UWMOC Volunteer Brian Massey, Grunin Foundation Executive Director Heather Barberi, and New Jersey Natural Gas Director of Customer and Community Relations Tom Hayes.