United Way of Southwest Virginia Announces Co-Chairs for Regional Advisory Council  to help guide emergency COVID-19 relief efforts across Southwest Virginia

(Abingdon, VA) March 30, 2020 – United Way of Southwest Virginia announced Tommy Casteel, former Director for the Virginia Department of Social Services Western Regional Offices, and Michael Quillen, Former Chairman/Founder of Alpha Natural Resources to lead a regional advisory council that will develop a regional response strategy to the COVID-19 pandemic in Southwest Virginia.  According to Mike Quillen, Co-Chair of the COVID-19 Response Fund Advisory Council, “The council will use data from local agencies to assess the most urgent needs in the region and leverage resources to create an immediate, effective response to the pandemic in our region.”

The Southwest Virginia COVID-19 Relief Fund, a resiliency and social innovation initiative, will bring together the collective efforts of both public and private partners to develop strategies to meet the needs of individuals and organizations affected.  Both immediate and long-term, response efforts will focus on vulnerable populations that may fall through the cracks of state and federal assistance. In addition to this population, our efforts will also examine ways to build capacity among our community organizations and health and human service providers, while working to leverage local investments by gaining additional outside resources for our cause.

“These are challenging and uncertain times for all of us,” said Tommy Casteel, Co-Chair of the Advisory Council. “The Council will be made up of representatives from the public sector, health and human service agencies, and the private sector.  The Council members will also represent different cities and counties from across the region, making sure we have input from across the entire service area.”

The group will meet virtually for the first time later this week. Additional information will be shared following the Council’s first meeting and will include the complete roster of the Advisory Council, details about current community needs, and an update on the amount of funds received and future plans for fund utilization.

To support the fund, visit unitedwayswva.org or text SWVARelief to 71777.