United Way NCA Creates Emergency Assistance Fund and Challenges the Region’s Corporate Community




United Way Pledges Initial $100K and Capital One Provides $100K Match

United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA) today announces the creation of the Emergency Assistance Fund, which will provide gap funding to enable organizations providing vital food, rent and utility assistance programs to continue to operate and meet an increased demand for services due to the government shutdown. United Way NCA allocated the initial $100,000 to start the fund and is calling on its corporate partners to assist. Capital One was first to respond with a $100,000 grant to support United Way NCA member nonprofits providing food distribution services, and the United Way expects more will follow.

“With the shutdown continuing and federal workers receiving their first drastically reduced paycheck last Friday, we know the impact on thousands of families in our community is tremendous,” said Rosie Allen-Herring, President & CEO, United Way National Capital Area. “By first providing additional food resources, we know we will be filling a critical basic need and quickly, and as the fund contributions increase, we will expand efforts beyond food assistance to include funding agencies that provide short term financial assistance with rent/mortgage payments and overdue utility bills.”

“As Washington, D.C.’s hometown bank, we continue to work with local nonprofit and community organizations to assess the most critical needs facing our community,” said Jon Witter, President, Retail and Direct Banking, Capital One. “Recognizing that the extended loss of steady income for many individuals around the region is driving increased demand for basic services, we are providing support for the United Way’s Emergency Assistance Fund to help ensure that local food pantries can remain fully stocked and open to serve those in need.”

The majority of non-profit organizations providing emergency assistance programs rely on government funding to sustain operations—funding which is now frozen due to the government shutdown without assurance that it will be restored in the near future.  As such, these organizations are struggling to sustain regular operations and more importantly, deal with an estimated 25% increase in demand for services by people impacted by the shutdown.

The shutdown also negatively impacts the ability of nonprofit organizations to raise funds, especially through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) which has come to a halt.

And if you consider that the Washington metropolitan area ranks in the Top 10 of most expensive places to live, one of the factors is that food if 11% more expensive than the national average.

While food assistance programs are typically targeted to lower income families, the increased demand is fueled by a larger audience that now includes furloughed government workers and others impacted by the shutdown.

With the Emergency Assistance Fund, United Way NCA will be taking the first step in addressing this urgent need to provide an increase in the capacity of emergency food providing organizations. For example, even prior to the shutdown, the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) estimated that 700,000 residents of the region to be at risk of hunger – yet they only have the capacity to serve 500,000 (1 meal per day in most cases).

The joint funding provided by United Way NCA and Capital One will be immediately distributed to four regional nonprofits focused on providing food resources:

  • Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) – The largest regional food bank serving nearly 500,000 people across the region and providing food to 400+ non-profit and faith based organizations.
  • SHARE Food Network – A self-help and resource exchange that provides healthy affordable, nutritious groceries, at 50% reduced cost, to thousands of families throughout region. 
  • Meals on Wheels – An organization that provides over one million meals served to 6000+ seniors annually. 
  • Martha’s Table  – An organization that impacts over 1100 people a day with its programs and provides more than 600,000 nutritious meals each year.

“We are planning for greatly increased demand for food as the shutdown continues to impact federal workers but also the many employees in DC industries who are also feeling the downturn,” said Patty Stonesifer, President & CEO, Martha’s Table.  “Recovery will not be quick. Martha’s Table will increase our efforts during this time and these funds from United Way will ensure that groceries will be plentiful for families and individuals needing extra support. We are grateful for the many furloughed workers who are putting in extra hours volunteering and want to show our support to those who need us.”

“Our corporate community is very proactive and has been known to rally in times of crisis,” continued Allen-Herring. “We are hopeful that other partners will join with the United Way NCA and Capital One to become part of the solution now.”

About United Way of the National Capital Area

Focusing on the critical areas of education, financial stability and health, United Way of the National Capital Area and its nonprofit members not only provide immediate relief of social problems affecting the community, but also works to alleviate the underlying causes of these issues. Serving the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties for more than 35 years, United Way of the National Capital Area works to inspire acts of caring, deliver hope and improve lives. For more information about United Way of the National Capital Area, visit


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