Always United: Technology Brings Us Together

Every day your support of United Way of Central New York, helps our network of agencies provide a number of counseling and support services in Onondaga County.

For example, in 2019 United Way of Central New York provided nine programs with funding support for mental health & substance abuse services, serving nearly 4,000 individuals in Onondaga County.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced an abrupt end to many of these programs, as face-to-face contact was no longer viable. Even more challenging, the emotional effects of social distancing brought new anxiety and confusion to vulnerable populations.

In response, United Way of Central New York, a host of foundations, Onondaga County, and the City of Syracuse moved to create the COVID-19 Community Support Fund. In about a month, through civic and corporate donations, the fund has raised nearly $1.6M and distributed nearly half a million to over 25 organizations.

Funds have been used to quickly incorporate new technology, allowing many programs currently funded by United Way of Central New York’s Community Program Fund to continue providing services.

For example, through online consultation, AccessCNY counselors have been able to reach clients with a mental health diagnosis virtually. This provides a familiar face and continued support as those benefiting from these services work to make progress in their recovery. New technology has also allowed AccessCNY to create online training and support groups for family members who have a loved one with a mental health diagnosis.

Paul Joslyn, Executive Director of AccessCNY said, “This funding is helping us deliver on our mission in a new way. While we are grateful for the support provided by the COVID-19 Fund, we are not surprised by it. We live in a generous community. Many of the donors to the fund have long supported AccessCNY and other local non-profits.

The United Way of Central New York is one of those decades-long partners. Even in this moment, United Way dollars are being put to work every day.”

Joslyn concludes: “There are heroes across Central New York, but heroes need help.

The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented challenge for mental health services in our community. Working together – UNITED – we remain strong.