COVID-19 Statement 3/16/2020

3/16/2020 - As an organization dedicated to the well-being of our community, United Way of the Black Hills is closely watching the developments surrounding the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

As advocates for health and well-being in our community, we recognize the benefit of social distancing and doing our due diligence and limit spreading of the virus. Our top priority is to ensure the safety of our staff and our community. Due to the recent declaration of state of emergency by Governor Kristi Noem, United Way of the Black Hills offices will be closed the week of Monday, March 16 - Monday, March 23, to protect the health of the public and staff members by practicing social distancing. 

UWBH staff are still diligently working remotely to stay on top of this pandemic and the needs of our local community. The conversation is moving from how we take care of ourselves, our family and friends to how we can help the most vulnerable among us.

Our organization not only recognizes the impact this virus is making in the health of our community; but the financial health and economic well-being of our community members as well. 

In a time of great uncertainty, we must UNITE and be mindful of those surrounding us, and help lift one another in a time of hardship. Many of our funded agencies are providing great work to our community during this time to continue to ensure the needs of our community are met. Helpline Center 211 is a communications resource for real time information on business closures, program restrictions, and the availability of basic needs services in the Black Hills.

Many in our community are looking for ways they can get involved, by volunteering or making donations to a cause. UWBH is working with local nonprofits, Foundations, and donors to identify area needs and coordinate resources to meet these needs. We have established a special Community Response fund restricted to provide financial aid to area nonprofits effected by the Coronavirus. We will be developing a transparent, effective and timely process to distribute these funds over the coming weeks in partnership with our Board of Directors and community partners.

To support these efforts by donating to our community response fund text BHCovidHelp to the number 41444 or visit our website: and select "COVID-19 COMMUNITY RESPONSE FUND" in the "DESIGNATIONS" section

The most fundamental instructions we can provide to our community members helping one another are the directions provided by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization), local and government officials, which are as follows: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

  • Stay home if you are sick and call your doctor for next steps.

Although these are simple actions, you are taking a step in limiting the spread of illness in our community. 



Jamie Toennies

Executive Director of United Way of the Black Hills