Hurricane Disaster Recovery Assistance - Click Here

How the United Way is Responding to COVID-19 and Other Disasters in 2020

Episode #14

The United Way has over 1,100 chapters around the United States supporting needs in local communities. The largest privately funded non-profit supports many needs, especially after a disaster. During 2020, the non-profit has stepped up to fill in the gaps typically provided by local organizations and agencies, including food banks, and other necessary services lacking as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Topics Covered:

  • United Way’s local chapters adjusted how they deliver services during the pandemic to account for families who have kids home from school, family members losing their jobs, and those who need supplemental food.
  • Many local nonprofits are struggling to deliver their normal services due to the pandemic, and the United Way is helping to step in and support those needs.
  • There are many ways for people to support the United Way. They can volunteer virtually, donate to their local chapter, or volunteer in-person with United Way activities in the community.
  • This year the United Way has supported several major disasters around the U.S. including the California Wildfires, the Gulf Coast hurricanes, and the pandemic impacts in communities around the country.

Key Takeaways

  • [02:20] Introduction of Suzanne
  • [02:30] Let's begin with your role with the United Way Worldwide.
  • [02:50] How many chapters do you have across the territory you oversee?
  • [03:32] Can you explain the mission of the United Way as community partner?
  • [04:50] How has COVID-19 impacted the way United Way does business and delivers its services?
  • [08:55] How is the United Way helping with other disasters in addition to COVID-19?
  • [12:50] I can only imagine how nice it was for those impacted by the California fires to have the opportunity to wash their clothes.
  • [13:30] I understand that COVID-19 has impacted how your teams respond. How important is it for the public to continue its support to the United Way?
View AllHide


Suzanne McCormick
Suzanne McCormick
United Way Worldwide

Suzanne McCormick was named U.S. President of United Way Worldwide (UWW) in June 2019. She is responsible for helping the 1,100 local United Ways across the U.S. trailblaze in the philanthropic space to build more resilient, inclusive and sustainable communities. That includes leading in equity, tackling community problems with innovative and systemic solutions, and driving the ongoing digital transformation.

McCormick came to United Way Worldwide from Tampa, Florida, where she spent five years as President and Chief Executive Officer for United Way Suncoast, one of Florida’s largest United Ways. In that time, she cultivated growth, increased community impact and led a strategic plan to break the cycle of generational poverty. Having previously served as the chair of the United Way Network Partnership Group and National Professional Council, McCormick will continue to enable the teams to develop and leverage powerful philanthropy initiatives, such as Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud. She brings invaluable insights as immediate past chair of the United Ways of Florida that will lend to the ongoing collaboration with United Way State Associations.

McCormick began her nonprofit leadership career at the International Center of New York and then as CEO for both the American Red Cross of Southern Maine and People’s Regional Opportunity. She joined the United Way of Greater Portland in Maine, where she provided 13 years of leadership, including four as president and CEO.


Greg Padgett
Greg Padgett
Media & Communications Strategist

Greg Padgett is the host of Disaster Recovery Roundtable and brings 25 years' experience as a journalist, emergency manager, crisis communicator, and host. From 1991 to 2001, he was a journalist and meteorologist with several TV stations across the southeast U.S. He holds the American Meteorological Society's and National Weather Association's Broadcast Seals of Approval. He previously served as Natural Hazards Program Manager for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, overseeing the development of the state's hurricane, severe weather, flood, and earthquake response plans. He has organized statewide media tours, supported public information officer training, and provided technical assistance in developing response plans and Whole Community preparedness campaigns for local jurisdictions. He also served as an on-air meteorologist for the Weather Channel's Radio Network from 2002 to 2007. He is a past recipient of the National Weather Association's Broadcaster of the Year award.