FAQ


General FAQ

How the Fund Works:

Catawba Connect: COVID-19 Relief Fund for Chester and Lancaster County, SC is administered through a partnership between the United Way of Chester County, the United Way of Lancaster County, and the J. Marion Sims Foundation. A Leadership Advisory Group and a Grants Committee have been established to review and distribute grants from the fund. The committee is made up of regional leaders representing diverse sectors and backgrounds from Chester and Lancaster Counties, South Carolina.

Donors have the opportunity to direct their donation to serve residents of Chester County, residents of Lancaster County, or the Area of Greatest Need, as determined by the Grants Committee. 


Q. What is the Fund?

Catawba Connect: COVID-19 Relief Fund for Chester and Lancaster County, SC is a relief fund designed to complement the ongoing work of public entities, and to expand capacity in Chester and Lancaster Counties to address impact from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. This fund will allow interested citizens and businesses to make donations for immediate, critical needs, crisis relief, and recovery.


Q. Who started the Fund?

United Way of Chester County, United Way of Lancaster County, and the J. Marion Sims Foundation.


Q. Why was the Catawba Connect: COVID-19 Relief Fund created?

Catawba Connect: COVID-19 Relief Fund was created to assist the unmet needs of residents in the counties of Chester & Lancaster, South Carolina during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The purpose of this fund is to support residents through experienced nonprofit organizations that serve on the front lines. Catawba Connect: COVID-19 Relief Fund is intended to provide resources to these organizations as they experience a higher demand for services at this time.


Q. What will this money be used for?

Catawba Connect COVID-19 Relief Fund grant awards will go to nonprofit organizations or coalitions that have experience working with our communities and those who are managing emerging needs in the two counties as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

At this time, funding priorities include services assisting with basic critical needs. Funding priorities will shift as community needs continue to change with the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus. 


Q. Who qualifies for funding?

Subject to funding availability, grants will be awarded to 501(c)3 organizations that have an established history of providing services in Chester & Lancaster Counties, South Carolina.

Organizations must have the ability to administer programs, services and resources quickly and effectively. Organizations must also be able to provide requested financial documents. 


Q. Do religious organizations qualify?

Religious organizations must be eligible to receive tax-deductible donations. Here are acceptable documents to show your charitable status:

  • For 501(c)(3) organizations operating out of religious organizations: A letter from the IRS stating your 501(c)(3) status
  • For churches, mosques, or synagogues: Your entry in a national directory of religious denomination, or charter letter from your religious governing body

Donors FAQ

Q. I want to donate. How do I support the COVID-19 Relief Fund?

Online donations may be made at https://www.catawbaconnect.org.

Make checks payable to “Catawba Connect” and note ‘COVID-19 Relief’. Donations can also be mailed to J. Marion Sims Foundation, P.O. Box 818, Lancaster, SC 29721. We also ask that donors provide a valid e-mail address for donation receipt. 

Due to current public health guidelines, we are not able to accept in-person donations.


Q. Are there other ways I can support the COVID-19 Relief Fund?

  • Share! Please share the Catawba Connect: COVID-19 Relief Fund link with friends and family! We would also love to hear from you when you’ve made your donation so post on our Facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/uwchestercounty.sc/, https://www.facebook.com/UWLCSC/, https://www.facebook.com/JMSimsFnd/
  • Ask your employer to Match Your Gift! Double your impact by asking your employer to match your gift. If you work for, or are retired from, a company with a matching gift plan, your contribution to the Catawba Connect: COVID-19 Relief Fund can have twice the impact. Your employer will match your gift dollar for dollar, some companies even double or triple the amount of your gift — at no cost to you.

Q. Can I direct my donation to a specific organization?

In an effort to move resources as efficiently as possible and respond to the needs of all people impacted, the Fund is not accepting directed donations for specific organizations at this time. However, donors may direct contributions to specific regional areas: Chester County, Lancaster County, or Area of Greatest Need (to be determined by the Catawba Connect: COVID-19 Relief Fund Grants Committee). The COVID-19 Relief Fund was created to provide a way to collaborate and coordinate as many resources as possible.


Q. Is my donation tax deductible?

Yes, all contributions are tax deductible.


Q. How much of my donation goes to local nonprofit organizations?

For each online donation to Catawba Connect, a 6.5% + $0.30 technology and processing fee will be applied. Donors have the option to cover these fees on behalf of Catawba Connect efforts. If a donor chooses to cover the fee, 100% of the intended donation amount goes directly Catawba Connect to help the ongoing work of public entities and to expand capacity in Chester and Lancaster Counties to address impact from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.


Q. How can I find out which nonprofit organizations have received funds from the COVID-19 Relief Fund?

The United Way of Chester County, United Way of Lancaster County, and the J. Marion Sims Foundation will share the list of grantees as awards are made.


Q. What methods are in place to track use of funds and results?

The granting organization will receive reports on the impact and outcomes of each award. Information about grant awards and impact will be posted on www.CatawbaConnect.org.


Q. Who started the relief fund?

The United Way of Chester County, United Way of Lancaster County, and the J. Marion Sims Foundation began the fund on March 20, 2020 as the COVID-19 coronavirus began to impact our communities.


Q. Who will process grant awards (send the funds out to nonprofit organizations)?

Catawba Connect: COVID-19 Relief Fund for Chester & Lancaster, SC is administered through a partnership between the United Way of Chester County, the United Way of Lancaster County, and the J. Marion Sims Foundation. A Leadership Advisory Group and a Grants Committee have been established to review and distribute grants from the Fund via check. The committee is made up of regional leaders representing diverse sectors and backgrounds from Chester and Lancaster Counties, South Carolina.


Organizations FAQ

Q. What services or programs does this support?

During this first phase, relief funding will support nonprofit organizations that provide community safety nets to meet critical needs (utilities, food and/or shelter), and to those organizations that have significant experience working with vulnerable populations made even more vulnerable by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As this pandemic evolves and community needs change, available funds will continue to be distributed to organizations that support our residents.


Q. Where do I apply?

Look for the Catawba Connect: COVID-19 Relief Fund grant application in coming weeks.


Q. When can I apply?

Catawba Connect: COVID-19 Relief Fund application process will open in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned to this website and social media pages of each partner organization for updates.


Q. I'm an individual who's been impacted by COVID-19. Can the COVID-19 Relief Fund help me?

Catawba Connect: COVID-19 Relief Fund cannot award grants to individuals but will award grants to community-based organizations that directly support local residents and families most impacted by emerging economic and health impacts.

Individuals may call the United Way 24-hour referral service line by dialing 211, toll free at 1-866-892-9211. 211 is a free hotline for people in South Carolina to obtain resources and information available to them in their area.