COVID-19 Difference Makers

Man delivering meals, woman sewing face masks, doctor wearing face mask

The United Way COVID-19 Difference Maker Award will celebrate the people, groups, or businesses who are making a meaningful difference in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are seeking nominations of volunteers, mask-makers, those coordinating food or PPE drives, front-line workers and others who have consistently gone above and beyond to positively impact their community throughout the pandemic.

These can be big countywide efforts or small neighborhood efforts. We are especially interested in honoring those who have not already received public accolades for their good works

Five award winners will be named the week of March 1. All nominees will receive a congratulatory letter and certificate, and five award winners will receive a trophy and a gift basket of items from local Champaign County businesses.

Submit a nomination soon - the deadline is February 15!


  • The nominee’s activities must have impacted Champaign County.
  • The nominee should have engaged in work that improved or positively changed people’s lives during COVID-19.
  • Activities can include but are not limited to, serving the community at large, nonprofits, neighborhood groups, schools, or faith-based organizations.
  • The nominee’s activities must follow state and local COVID-19 protocols.
  • Employees or Board members of United Way of Champaign County and their families may not participate as a nominator or nominee.
  • Award judges must recuse themselves if they have an immediate family member who is nominated.
  • The Award Rubric that will be used by judges can be viewed here.


Fill out a nomination form below and upload your video nomination. Your video, no longer than 3 minutes, should clearly communicate the three points below. If your nominee is selected as a winner, selected clips from your nomination video will be shared with the public via United Way of Champaign County’s social media channels. 

The nomination deadline is February 15, 2021, at 5 pm CST.


  1. What work did the nominee engage in to improve lives during COVID-19? (e.g. with who, what, where, how)
  2. What is at least one vivid example of how the nominee’s contributions improved or changed people’s lives during COVID-19?
  3. What sets the nominee apart in terms of their character and/or commitment to community?


If your nominee is selected as a winner, selected clips of your nomination video will be shared with the public via United Way of Champaign County’s social media channels.

  1. No longer than 3 minutes.
  2. Do not add any background music, on-screen text, or utilize any copyrighted material in your video.
  3. We need to be able to clearly see and hear you.
  4. We discourage extensive video editing/production – simple is strongly preferred. The scoring rubric is strictly focused on the work done by the nominee – not the production level of the video!
  5. We celebrate the diverse languages of our community. Video submissions that are not in English should be accompanied by a written translation (or simultaneous on-video translation) of the comments into English. If a translation is not provided, our committee may be unable to review your submission.
  6. If your video nomination features children under 18 years old, and your nominee is selected as a winner, United Way will reach out to you to obtain permission from parents/guardians of all minor children featured in the video.


All nominations will be reviewed by a volunteer committee between February 16, 2021 and February 19, 2021. During this period, we may reach out to nominators for more information.

Five award winners will be selected by a group of volunteer community members using a scoring rubric. Award winners will be notified privately the week of February 22. Award winners will be announced to the public, one per day, from March 1 through March 5, 2021.

A congratulatory letter will be sent to all nominees!