Member Spotlight #9: United Way of Central Maryland’s COVID-19 response

The following Member Spotlight is a summary from the interview with Whitney Harmel, vice president of membership and development at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, and Franklyn Baker, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland, to discuss the United Way’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. The full interview is included in the video below.

United Way of Central Maryland was established 95 years ago in Baltimore, Maryland. Since 1925, the company has been a lifeline for those in need as a result of their advanced understanding of the region and its demands. United Way strives to improve lives by empowering leaders and mobilizing the caring powers of communities, aspiring to create thriving communities for all people to live their best lives on their own terms. United Way has especially been an asset to the community during the COVID-19 crisis.

Franklyn Baker has been president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland since November 2016. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded the number of sites that help to provide family stability support services to families and prevent homelessness across Maryland. He has furthered efforts of equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives at United Ways, as well as leads efforts to meet the immediate and long-term needs of Baltimore members. Amidst the pandemic, Baker urges people to help those who have been disproportionally hit by COVID-19.

In the past decade, United Way has evolved immensely to meet the needs of the surrounding community through engagement and direct service in education, employment and workforce development, housing and health. The company has made extensive strides to support those who have been affected by the pandemic. The United Way Helpline, 2-1-1, is a human resources hotline that responds to issues related to food needs, housing, tax preparation, legal concerns and much more. The helpline has been extremely vital to community members – with the average number of calls jumping from 300 to 2,000 per day during the pandemic. The helpline has been able to deliver most requests and/or resources to recipients on a same-day basis.

With the company’s creation of the COVID-19 Response Funding Collaborative of Greater Baltimore, United Way has raised almost 4.4 million dollars to support more than 120 individual nonprofits that have been strained by the impact of the pandemic. United Way of Greater Maryland created a second fund to specifically target the local Balitmore county called the HoCo Response Fund. This fund has raised over $500,000 to support nonprofit needs specific to the county. More information about the United Way HoCo Response Fund can be found here.

To learn more about United Way of Central Maryland, click here.


Click here to view up-to-the-minute COVID-19 resources on the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s COVID-19 resources page.

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