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Great Rivers United Way, CCF Bank-Tomah, State Bank Financial-Sparta, the Tomah and Sparta Chambers of Commerce, and generous business, government, and individual supporters have joined together to create an Emergency Response Fund that will rapidly deploy resources to charitable organizations at the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak in Monroe County.

DONATE ONLINE NOW or text-to-donate — simply text MONROE to 40403

About the Monroe County Emergency Response Fund

Hosted by Great Rivers United Way, this fund will provide flexible and rapid resources to charitable organizations working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the economic consequences of the outbreak and its related preventative measures. The fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible.

The first phase of these rapid-response grants will address:

  • The economic impact of reduced and lost work due to the COVID-19 outbreak
  • Immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations caused by closures and cancellations related to COVID-19
  • Increased demand for medical information and support

Great Rivers United Way will administer grants from funds collected through mail and their online portal, in addition to those collected through CCF Bank branches in Tomah and State Bank Financial branches in Sparta. We will proactively identify potential grant recipients, solicit guidance on potential recipients from community advisors, review grant applications, and recommend final awards. Funds will be released on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs in subsequent funding phases. The fund expects to make an initial round of grants within the next few weeks.

Cash/check may be dropped off at either financial, or mailed to any of the following:
Please make checks payable to Great Rivers United Way and include “Monroe County Emergency Response Fund” on the notes line.
CCF Bank
Attn: Monroe County ERF
1001 Superior Ave.
Tomah, WI 54660
State Bank Financial
Attn: Monroe County ERF
203 W. Wisconsin St.
Sparta, WI 54656
Great Rivers United Way
Attn: Monroe County ERF
1855 E. Main St.
Onalaska, WI 54650

Contact Us

  • Questions about donating to any of the funds:
    • Mary Kay Wolf, Executive Director — or (608) 796-1400, ext. 102
    • Katie Sparks, Development Director — or (608) 796-1400, ext. 104
  • Questions about applying for funds:
    • Liz Evans, Community Impact Director — or (608) 796-1400, ext. 105


I’m an individual who’s been affected by COVID-19. Can this fund help me?
We understand many individuals and families have been affected by the outbreak already and more will continue to be affected. On behalf of the fund’s coalition, Great Rivers United Way is working to move resources to community-based organizations that are directly supporting local residents and families who are most affected by emerging health, economic, and social impacts.

While the fund is not able to provide grants to individuals, we will be funding community-based organizations that have experience and history of providing people and families with services and support. As we begin to award grants, we will post them on this page. Please check back for a list of the organizations that may be able to assist you.

My organization is interested in resources from this fund. Can we be considered?
We understand the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting nonprofits in many ways, including increased demand for their services, as well as other challenges. Great Rivers United Way is working to ensure that the grants awarded meet the greatest needs in communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Charitable organizations who serve Monroe County are eligible to apply.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and responses will be made within five business days of submitting the proposal. In order to move resources quickly, the application form is short and easy to complete.


Click on “GRUW Emergency Response Fund” at the bottom of the linked page. One app may be submitted for Buffalo, Crawford, Houston, Monroe, Vernon, and Trempealeau counties. For La Crosse County, apply here.

I want to donate. Can I restrict my funding to a prioritized grantee?
To ensure we move resources as efficiently as possible and respond to needs of communities most impacted, we are not considering restricted donations at this time. The Monroe County Emergency Response Fund was created in hopes of providing a way to coordinate as many resources as possible.

Should I give to this fund instead of making other donations?
This fund was not created to be the only vehicle resourcing critical community activities during this outbreak. Rather it is working to facilitate getting more targeted resources into the community where it’s needed most. If the Monroe County Emergency Response Fund priorities align with your values, please consider making a donation. However, this is a critical time for so many, including the nonprofit organizations who’ve benefited from your giving in the past, as well as those who’ve had to cancel their annual fundraising events or depend heavily on public gatherings. Please continue to give to organizations you regularly support, and those that need your help at this crucial time. Now is the time to double down for our community as we have greater awareness of the depth and scale of the long term ramifications of the outbreak.

What will NOT be included in the first phase of funding?
We anticipate multiple phases of funding to address both the acute needs now and the longer-term impacts of the outbreak and recovery. In this first phase, we are prioritizing community-based organizations that are serving communities and individuals who are immediately and disproportionately suffering from this crisis. In this first round, we are not able to prioritize organizations who have lost revenue or are likely to lose future revenue due to canceled events or programs, or larger public institutions that are strained by increased demand for services. We recognize these challenges, and as the crisis and long-term impacts continue to unfold, we will continue to diligently to assess and evolve our funding strategies.

Based upon the charitable structure of the Monroe County Emergency Response Fund, our grants are limited to 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations, and other public entities. We are not able to fund individuals or businesses directly, labor unions, or other 501(c)4, 501(c)5, and 501(c)6 organizations.

Is there a geographic area of focus for the fund?
The Monroe County Emergency Response Fund will support community-based organizations serving Monroe County.

When will you share who you fund?
We anticipate making a first round of investments in the coming weeks, and will publish the list of selected grantees on the Great Rivers United Way websites, along with short descriptions of the services and support they are providing. We hope that this will help the community navigate available resources.

Is there a fee to contribute?
With a focus on getting resources out to the community in this critical time, there is no administrative fee for participating in the Fund. 100% of donations will go to community groups and leaders on the ground, except for a credit card fee for online donations, which is 2.5% of the gift. Gifts can also be mailed to Great Rivers United Way or dropped off at all locations of CCF Bank drive-thrus in Tomah and State Bank Financial drive-thrus in Sparta. Great Rivers United Way is covering the administrative costs of all staff leading this effort.

How will the fund shift gears if needed?
The fund priorities may evolve as our region adapts to the COVID-19 outbreak. We will continue to prioritize communities most impacted, recognizing deep and historic inequities that are likely to be magnified in times of crisis. Crisis philanthropy recognizes the need to provide immediate resources for triage, as well as the importance of recovery resources to ensure community resilience. If funds remain after all short-term and long-term needs are supported, the Monroe County Emergency Response Fund will be saved for the next crisis that demands a similar rapid-response.

Open Your Heart.

Lend Your Muscle.

Join The Movement.