Bank of America Supports United Way of the Piedmont COVID-19 Relief Efforts

Staff Report

Thursday, July 30th, 2020

For Kenya Dawkins and her family, a partnership between United Way of the Piedmont and Bank of America offered the timely resources needed to regain financial stability as a result of challenges faced during the coronavirus pandemic.

United Way of the Piedmont has supported over 720 households in the Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union region with financial assistance for rent and mortgage payments along with utilities, lodging and other expenses such as transportation, as part of ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts. Bank of America’s contribution of $30,000 assisted 21 families.

Dawkins, a breast cancer survivor and mother of five, has two biological children and three of her younger cousins that she’s taken into her home. Before the pandemic, she felt secure but as time went on, it was clear she needed to find a new place for her family to live.

With schools closed because of the virus and no childcare, Dawkins found herself unable to work. When forced to move, she and her children first took refuge in her car. United Way helped them find a new home, covering the initial expenses to move in and assisting with furniture and other supplies.

“I’m so grateful and I cannot thank United Way enough.” said Dawkins. “My children are so happy and excited – they still can’t believe it. They can enjoy being themselves. Where we live now is so much better than where we lived before.”

Nearly 89 percent of households helped with COVID-19 related challenges by United Way of the Piedmont have either never received financial assistance before or had not received assistance in over a year.

“Many families felt ashamed of their need for assistance, as most were employed and working full-time before the start of the pandemic. Several even asked how they could pay back the assistance or if they could pay it forward in some way.” said Libbie Cheek, United Way of the Piedmont Community Resource Coordinator, who worked with Dawkins and her family.

Bank of America shares over 25 years of partnership with United Way of the Piedmont and includes support for the United Way’s Opportunity Center. Addressing the needs of local families being furloughed or losing their jobs entirely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, aligns with Bank of America’s commitment to economic mobility.

“Bank of America has a clear purpose to help make financial lives better. As we navigate these times of increased need, we recognize the private sector can play a pivotal role to help our communities,” said Stacy Brandon, Upstate Market President for Bank of America. “We are committed to partnering with United Way of the Piedmont to help individuals find long-term paths to success.”

United Way of the Piedmont continues to directly assist community members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic across their three-county footprint and is also helping to support local and small business in the area through a partnership with the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce.