Helping Ferguson - United Way of Greater St. Louis

At United Way of Greater St. Louis, our mission is to help people throughout our 16 county service area in Missouri and Illinois live their best possible lives. During emergency situations, such as in Ferguson, United Way’s role is to support local efforts by providing help to people in need. United Way may act as a conduit for donated funds, volunteer management and engage in the direction of material resources to address critical needs and support for emergency response efforts in the short and long term.

Following the unrest in August, United Way has helped more than 2,000 Ferguson and Dellwood families and employees with basic needs, employment support and mental health resources and was named fiscal agent for the Ferguson Commission, a role in which we served until September 2017.

As our community works to overcome the challenges we currently face, United Way will continue to convene various community, corporate and government organizations to determine how our region can peacefully move forward. Like all parts of our region, Ferguson is an integral part of our community whose residents give and receive help from United Way supported agencies. Last year, United Way helped one in three people in Ferguson, its surrounding neighborhoods and throughout the St. Louis region.

Read United Way’s Ferguson Report highlighting our action, investment and impact in Ferguson and the St. Louis region following the civil unrest.

Review our Frequently Asked Questions

Make a donation to the Ferguson Fund.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

A message from our president and CEO, Orv Kimbrough:

“When the events of Ferguson unfolded last August, I, like many of you, prayed and reflected even more. With being fairly new to my role (just over a year), I struggled with how United Way, the region’s largest non-governmental funder of health and human services, should respond. I also struggled with my personal response as a leader who happens to be an African American man. I didn’t wonder if we would take action but when and how would be best.

In a crisis it is easy to make rushed decisions and hurried judgments. I have found that in these moments pausing for intentional prayer and reflection is critical to gaining clarity, so I did. Amidst the tears and sadness for our community, I emerged even more resolute to hold our region accountable to provide people with options.” Read full post

Ferguson Fund Strategy & Investment Summary

Immediate Crisis Stabilization: $689,434
United Way connected individuals and families to resources that helped provide respite and address immediate basic needs through events such as the Community Resource Drop-In Center and Multi-Agency Resource Center.

Intermediate Response: $1,840,350
United Way invested funding into mental health counseling, non-violent conflict resolution and community training, as well as youth focused programming, including early childhood education and meaningful summer opportunities.

Long-term Response
United Way recognizes that sustained improvement to the underlying causes of the unrest will require a cross-sector collaborative approach. As part of our long-term strategy, United Way views its work as the support organization for two community-led collective impact efforts, Ready by 21 St. Louis and East Side Aligned, as the appropriate mechanism to create conditions for the success of our region. Both efforts are working with partners across our community to ensure that all young people in the region have the supports they need to be productive, connected, healthy and safe. While no Ferguson Fund money has been used to support this long-term response, United Way has dedicated resources, time and staffing in serving as the backbone organization.

Ferguson Fund Investment To-date: $2,529,784

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Free counseling services are available to individuals in the St. Louis region who continue to feel stressed or traumatized by the unrest in Ferguson last August. Interested residents should contact United Way 2-1-1 by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626 to be connected to resources.

Eligible clients will receive up to seven counseling sessions and are able to select their providers based on their personal preferences. Saundra Barker, chief program officer at Catholic Family Services suggests individuals experiencing symptoms such as memory problems, anxiousness, aches and pains, moodiness, feeling overwhelmed, eating less and general unhappiness should contact United Way 2-1-1 for help.

Share this flyer to help connect people to free counseling.

Learn more about available counseling services.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

As part of a long-term engagement approach to support youth following last year’s unrest in Ferguson, United Way of Greater St. Louis announced its “Summer of Opportunity” initiative aimed at providing youth who live in low-income households with meaningful and enriching opportunities this summer.

Through the “Summer of Opportunity” United Way has:

  • Awarded $300,000 in one-time grant awards to nine local nonprofit organizations to provide youth in 16 high-need zip codes in St. Louis City and County, and the Metro East with productive opportunities including a first job experience, volunteering to improve local communities, exploring local cultural institutions, attending summer school, or experiencing nature away from the city environment.
  • Partnered with Blueprint 4 Summer STL, a resource website that provides youth with fun and diverse summertime activities to ensure that they develop their own creative pursuits, expand their education and spend their summers constructively. United Way is directing parents and youth, specifically ages 16-19, to the website to locate opportunities that are specific to their interests, location and age.
  • Presented a $10,000 grant to STL Youth Jobs to provide technical assistance on quality standards and best practices for implementing and evaluating youth employment services to improve youth outcomes.
  • Collaborated with Nine Network to convene and facilitate youth and the larger community around conversations on critical regional issues in order to produce segments that will be distributed on air, online, and in the community.

Learn more about United Way’s “Summer of Opportunity”

Tuesday, April, 28, 2015

United Way has completed the first phase of its contract with St. Louis County to help residents impacted by events in Ferguson and is continuing the second phase of work to provide mental health counseling to people in need. For phase two of the St. Louis County contract, United Way awarded $123,750 to six local organizations to provide crisis support and mental health counseling. The agencies, which include Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Center, Catholic Family Services, Crider Health Center, Lutheran Family and Children Services, Provident and Queen of Peace, will provide counseling services with this funding until September 2015. Individuals interested in receiving counseling should contact United Way 2-1-1 by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626 to be connected to these resources

Thursday, February 5, 2015

United Way collaborated with Ascension Health; Graybar; MasterCard Technologies & Operations, MasterCard Worldwide; YMCA; and In God’s Hands to distribute nearly 1,000 coats to children in the Ferguson area. Students enrolled in the Ferguson-Florissant, Normandy and Jennings school districts, and Training Up a Child Development Center received the cold weather gear after generous local companies reached out to United Way to inquire about ways they could help people in Ferguson.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

St. Louis County and United Way 2-1-1 are coordinating efforts to help employees in the Ferguson and Dellwood area with basic needs to prevent homelessness and employment support. Employees who working in Ferguson and Dellwood and impacted by the November unrest in the area may call United Way 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626 by Thursday, February 19, 2015 to determine eligibility for available resources.

If you are eligible, a United Way 2-1-1 representative will provide you with additional information.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Following November’s civil unrest, United Way 2-1-1 recognized the most pressing and emerging need in the impacted neighborhoods was lack of food due to street closures, lack of transportation and markets being closed in the area. To make matters worse, many area food pantries were running dangerously low. To respond to this need, on Sunday, December 7, United Way 2-1-1, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, St. Louis Area Foodbank, Church of the Nazarene and Better Family Life distributed 25,214 pounds of food to more than 500 families in Ferguson and the surrounding neighborhoods. Read more.

Wednesday, December 2, 2014

United Way has been selected to provide fiscal agency services to the Ferguson Commission. In this role, United Way will track Commission funds and distribute payments to vendors and contractors upon written request of the Commission. We remain a neutral convener of nonprofit organizations, businesses, government entities and the general public. The Commission is solely self-funded. Our hope is that United Way’s agreement with the Commission will accelerate the healing of the region.

Monday, December 1, 2014

United Way’s Volunteer Center is supporting local efforts to organize volunteers and volunteer opportunities in and around Ferguson. Visit to view available opportunities or request volunteers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A message from our president and CEO, Orv Kimbrough:

“As part of this community, United Way of Greater St. Louis cares about the people and neighborhoods we serve.

Like you, I spent the majority of last night and this morning watching with a heavy heart and grave concern as the devastating results of the protests in Ferguson unfolded. While violence drowned out voices of peaceful protest, we are fortunate for all who are committed to our community’s healing and stand at this intersection ready to meet immediate needs and support our unified path forward.

United Way is once again assessing the needs of people who need help and stands ready to connect the citizens of our region with the help they need. Our experience shows that as situations evolve, so do the needs of residents. In a unified effort to help meet these needs, we will continue to join with partner organizations to help people in this region recover in the short- and long-term.

There is little doubt that the regional challenges that lie ahead will be complex. Right now, our neighbors in the affected areas who need non-emergency help are encouraged to call United Way 2-1-1 to register their needs and get connected with available assistance. For more information on United Way’s efforts to help people in Ferguson and beyond, sign up in the form above for our Ferguson updates.

As our community moves forward, it is the generous spirit of our region and our ability to stick together that will help us heal. Thank you for being part of the healing.”

Sunday, October 19, 2014

United Way of Greater St. Louis 2-1-1 and St. Louis County hosted a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) October 18 & 19 to help residents in Ferguson who were impacted by civil unrest in the area. For this event, United Way 2-1-1 executed part of a $1 million contract from St. Louis County. Held at Florissant Valley Community College, eligible Ferguson residents who previously registered a need for assistance with United Way 2-1-1 were invited to attend the MARC to receive help with basic needs to prevent homelessness. This included case management, utility assistance, rent/mortgage assistance, and transportation based on specific criteria determined by St. Louis County. Read more.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

For reference, United Way 2-1-1 has compiled a list of “Numbers to Know” for agencies providing assistance in the Ferguson area. For further assistance, or to get connected to resources beyond Ferguson, please dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A message from our president and CEO, Orv Kimbrough:

“I typically rise in the morning at 4 a.m., but as of late it’s become earlier. During this time of year it is normal to have the weight of the campaign become heavier as we seek to press through to the finish line. The problem is that it’s not simply the weight of the campaign. There is nothing normal about what we are experiencing as a region right now. This is not our typical operating environment.” Read full post.

Monday, September 29, 2014

On Friday evening, the Nine Network aired a town hall meeting, moderated by PBS NEWSHOUR’s Gwen Ifill, exploring the many issues brought to light in Ferguson. The program includes national leaders and prominent thinkers in the areas of law enforcement, race and civil rights, as well as government officials, faith leaders and youth. The program was recorded before an audience on the campus of University of Missouri – St. Louis. Watch online now.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

For five days, nearly 1,200 residents, who were experiencing personal hardships and stress from the events happening in their neighborhood, received hot meals, food staples, counseling, and respite activities for their children at the Drop-In Center in Dellwood. In total, more than:

  • 2,150 hot meals were distributed
  • 300 households received utility, rental and mortgage assistance
  • 269 children participated in respite activities
  • 1,900 families received food and hygiene staples

Now, United Way will focus on a collaborative strategy to help our community with long-term issues. United Way will use contributions designated to the Ferguson Fund from individuals, corporations and other partners to continue helping people in need.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Over a total of five days in operation, more than 1,200 people in Ferguson came to our Community Resource Drop-In Center to receive resources including counseling, legal assistance, hot meals, respite and food staples from dedicated partners like St. Louis County, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, American Red Cross St. Louis Area Chapter, Catholic Charities St. Louis, Behavioral Health Response, Boys & Girls Club of Greater St. Louis, St. Louis Area FoodbankWyman Center,Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Inc., Society of St. Vincent dePaul, St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund, Children’s Home Society of Missouri, Community Action Agency of St. Louis County – CAASTLC, Better Family Life, Deaconess Nurses, Dellwood Community Recreation Center, ECH Every Child’s HopeJewish Family & Children’s Service of St. LouisPlaces for PeopleYouth In NeedUrban Sprouts, Missouri Foundation for Health, Girls Inc. – St. LouisSalvation Army STLCare For Kids – just to name a few.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Beginning Wednesday, August 20 at 10 a.m., the Community Resource Drop-In Center will open daily to residents through Sunday (excluding Saturday) and will provide respite, children’s activities and access to resources from local agencies. Volunteers are not needed at the Center at this time. More information.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Community Resource Drop-In Center was made available to Ferguson residents by United Way, American Red Cross, St. Louis Area Foodbank, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Salvation Army and others. The center offered assistance, and provide some needed relief. Recap from Saturday, August 16.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Message from our president:

I, along with the entire United Way family, am deeply saddened by the events that have unfolded in Ferguson and surrounding areas. We offer our sincere condolences to the family of Michael Brown and all those impacted by these tragic events.

It’s important that our community has the space for constructive conversations and, eventually, healing. In a unified effort to help meet the most pressing needs of our friends and neighbors, we are joining with partner organizations to help people in this region recover in the short- and long-term.

Right now, United Way 2-1-1 is available to help those impacted get connected to immediate resources, such as counseling. As the needs of our community change, United Way 2-1-1 will continue to be there 24/7 to help. Simply dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626 to access these resources.

As a coordinated approach takes shape, we will work closely with our partners to help this region that we love and call home heal.

Orvin Kimbrough, President and CEO, United Way of Greater St. Louis