United Way of the Mid-South served as a Tennessee CARES Act Grant Administrator
for 98 agencies MEMPHIS, Tenn., January 8, 2021 –

MEMPHIS, Tenn., January 8, 2021United Way of the Mid-South served as one of six Grant Administrators for the Tennessee Community CARES Program, selected by the Tennessee Department of Human Services to support and assist area nonprofits with securing reimbursements for funds spent to aid our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our United Way extended beyond our traditional service area to work with our neighbor United Way, United Way of West Tennessee, to expand the reach of our capacity to provide these funds. Of the designated $150 million available to Tennessee, our United Way administered more than $26 million in grants for 98 nonprofits located in Shelby, Benton, Dyer, Chester, Fayette, Hardeman, Madison, Obion, Tipton and Weakley Counties.

The Tennessee CARES Act grant funding was intended to compensate front-line agencies that directly impacted individuals and families during the pandemic. One of the areas of greatest need identified by these agencies was support for people struggling to maintain stable housing and sufficient food supply, so $5.1 million was allocated to human services organizations and nonprofits offering rent and mortgage assistance. Education was another area of concern, and over $4 million was distributed to offset costs assumed while supporting distance learning and other educational needs for students. These funds, distributed throughout our region, shored up nonprofits working the immediate needs of our community.

United Way of the Mid-South was uniquely positioned to serve as a Grant Administrator, as the organization has nearly 100 years of grantmaking experience and extraordinary knowledge of and relationships with nonprofits throughout the region.  Our United Way annually grants millions to nonprofits, so expanding our role to support this specific purpose reflected our value to the Tennessee Department of Human Services (TNDHS).  Our recent deployment of a COVID-19 Economic Relief Fund further demonstrated our capacity to assess, identify and support area nonprofits providing critical pandemic-related services.

“Serving as a Tennessee CARES Act Program Grant Administrator was an honor and an incredible affirmation of the confidence United Way of the Mid-South has earned to navigate and manage such a critical portfolio of Federal funds for deserving nonprofit organizations in our region,” said Rev. Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D., President and CEO, United Way of the Mid-South. “In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this role represented a huge opportunity for our United Way to direct millions of dollars in grants to agencies which stretched to meet their neighbors’ needs.  It was also verification that we are considered a highly visible and trusted partner to the Tennessee Department of Human Services and a valuable grantmaker in this region for performing a service we are very experienced in providing.”

As a Grant Administrator, United Way of the Mid-South was required to provide extensive support to ensure grantees received intensive consultation regarding eligible COVID-19 related expenses, and successful submission of their requests for reimbursement.  To facilitate our responsiveness, our United Way greatly expanded the capacity of our experienced grant management department by hiring 13 additional temporary staff to review agency applications, make final recommendations to TNDHS, and provide technical assistance and advice to the agencies selected to receive CARES Act funds.  Our United Way ensured the Tennessee Community CARES Program grant recipients received effective communication and timely support throughout the process to maximize their eligible reimbursements.

About United Way of the Mid-South

Founded in 1923, United Way of the Mid-South has brought the time, talents and treasures of citizens together so individuals and families in need can enjoy a better quality of life. We do this by being the leading catalyst in stimulating support and services for individuals and families as they progress from poverty to prosperity. Located in Memphis, Tennessee, United Way serves an eight-county region which includes Shelby, Fayette, Tipton and Lauderdale counties in Tennessee; Desoto, Tate and Tunica counties in Mississippi; and Crittenden county in Arkansas. The mission of United Way is to improve the quality of life for Mid-Southerners by mobilizing and aligning community resources to address priority issues. To learn more, please visit www.uwmidsouth.org.