Rowan COVID-19 Relief Fund sees big boost in total raised

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 26, 2020

SALISBURY — The Rowan County United Way’s COVID-19 Relief Fund will have at least $242,072 to help with local needs associated with the coronavirus outbreak after big boosts last week from an anonymous donation, the Hurley family and the Wallace and Graham law firm.

As of Saturday afternoon, the United Way’s COVID-19 Relief Fund had raised $122,072. The organization also plans to match money raised with $120,000 in internal funding that it has reallocated to COVID-19 relief.

The United Way plans to direct all money in the relief fund to local nonprofits who help with food insecurity, medical expenses and housing needs. Funding can also be used for disruptions in normal business at nonprofits. The United Way will cover all administrative costs associated with the fund and distribution of the money.

“It is during these times of crisis that you can really feel the community coming together to lift one another up and provide hope—this pandemic is no different,” said Rowan County United Way Board Chair Seth Waller. “Unfortunately, everyone has been affected, whether from health related issues, job loss or those that put themselves at risk every single day working on the front lines.”

Some of the largest donations since the most recent update on Thursday include $20,000 from an anonymous donation, $10,000 from a charitable effort called Wallace and Graham Gives, a project of its namesake Salisbury law firm, and $5,000 from the J.F. Hurley Foundation as well as $1,000 from Gordon and Carolyn Hurley. Godley’s Garden Center and Harlie Hoke also gave $1,000.

The anonymous donation, said United Way Executive Director Jenny Lee, came via a check without any identifying information, meaning that not even United Way staff know the name of the generous donor.

“We are truly humbled by the overwhelming support our relief fund has received,” Waller said. “This community has placed their trust and faith in Rowan County United Way and we will continue to work quickly and diligently to provide immediate assistance for our neighbors during this challenging time.”

As of Saturday morning, there were 20 deaths from COVID-19 in Rowan County and 333 positive cases, according to Rowan County Health Department.

Just four counties — Mecklenburg, Wake, Durham and Wayne — have more COVID-19 cases than Rowan, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Only one county, Mecklenburg, has more COVID-19 deaths.

But, as the Wallace and Graham firm noted in its news release about its donation, the effects are more wide-ranging than the virus itself.

“Our community is seeing significant impacts on citizens who have lost their jobs and have been living paycheck-to-paycheck in hotels and boarding houses because they cannot afford permanent housing,” the news release said. “These citizens were already precariously housed but now face homelessness because the government’s moratorium on housing evictions does not apply in these situations.”

Anyone interested in making a donation can do so at, text the word “RELIEF” to 704-286-1011 or mail a contribution to the United Way at 131 West Innes St., Suite 201, Salisbury, N.C. 28144. Those mailing donations should address them to the attention of the COVID-19 Relief Fund. Those making a donation online should include a note in the comment section saying it’s for the COVID-19 Relief Fund.

The fund, which started on March 22, announced its first grantees two weeks ago — Main Street Mission, the Salvation Army, Rowan Helping Ministries, Meals on Wheels and the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center. The United Way plans to have multiple funding rounds.

Nonprofits can obtain more information about applying by visiting or calling the office at 704-633-1802.

Other donations since the most recent update are as follows:

• Marvin McGrady, $100
• Tamara Sheffield, $100
• Vic Jameson, $50
• Ella and Jake Barnes, $100
• Carol Comer, $100
• Jeffrey and Donna Childress, $200
• Edward and Mary Lanear, $100
• Joe and Barb, $100
• Sandra Flowe, $100
• Ed and Margaret Rusher, $200
• Betty Coulthard, $100
• Kathleen Dunn and Gene Krueger, $200
• Jack and Jeanie Moore, $100
• Summie and Debbie Carter, $100
• Bob and Doris Yost, $100
• Judy Moore, $10
• Judy Moore, $100
• Phillip Conrad, $100
• Tom and Ruby Snider, $40
• Richard and Lisa Painter, who made their donation in honor of all the Food Lion employees who are working tirelessly for us all
• Joyce Durkee, $100
• Arthur and Lynn Bolick, $500
• Keith and Darlene Kale, $100
• Charlie Frederick and Deborah Smith, $200, who made their donation in honor of all of their sisters and brothers.
• Mr. and Mrs. Richard Soderberg, $200
• Michael and Sharon Agee, $300
• Jim and Linda Freeman, $100
• Benny and Susan Bernhardt, $100
• D.C. Fink, $150
• Carla and Eric Pence, $500
• James and Corine Parks, $25
• David and Kath Pulliam, $100
• Anonymous, $20
• Anonymous, $150
• Anonymous, $150
• Anonymous, $200, made in memory of Sam Moir, Auth Myers and Dick Williams.