Nonprofit Spotlight: Bridges for Life

Nonprofit Spotlight: Bridges for Life   

If you’ve had COVID-19 you may have been one of the people to receive a Quarantine Care Package from Bridges for Life. We are thrilled that they will be the first organization our President, Tamara Brinkman will interview as the new host for WCTV’s The Third Sector.   

At United Way of Whitewater Valley, we understand that there are many families in need of assistance in Wayne and Union counties. In 2019, Wayne and Union counties had a combined 10,500 residents living under the poverty line. Residents living below the poverty line are at higher risk for mental illness, chronic illness, higher mortality, and lower life expectancy. As a community partner, we support organizations that collaborate to better the lives of all members of our community. The funds that we distribute support organizations in our community that give life-altering aid to families in our community.   

Bridges for Life   

One of the nonprofits we support is building bridges by providing interventions that allow families to better their lives. Bridges for Life is an organization that provides social services by building meaningful professional and personal relationships with families. They provide resources to at-risk families addressing their urgent or basic needs, assessing their challenges and strengths, providing interventions that address a family’s needs, and connecting them with community providers. Bridges for Life is passionate about active participation. They work to build trust with the families that they serve, this relationship allows them to provide meaningful and effective interventions.    

We understand that to create lasting change you must begin with urgent needs before moving on to larger issues. This is exactly the kind of help that Bridges for Life offers to the families they assist. They connect families with community providers that can relieve their immediate needs. This allows Bridges for Life to create personalized intervention plans focusing on five important areas.   

The Five Key Areas   

The five areas that Bridges for Life focuses its energy on are; education, physical health, mental health, personal finance, social skills, and social skills. Within these areas, team members address things such as early childhood education, preventative health, personal health, parenting, and personal finance. These five categories are used to identify and prioritize a family’s needs. The Bridges for Life team can work with other organizations to meet those needs. They understand that needs should be met in order. By that we mean, a family is much less likely to worry about personal finances when they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.   

All families have strengths and weaknesses. The mission of Bridges for Life is to identify stressors that have the most impact on a family. Identifying the problem is the first step to finding the solution. An example of this is the Quarantine Care Package Project. This program provides food and toiletries to families that are required to quarantine. The Bridges for Life team gets much-needed items into the hands of families within 24 hours of referral form being completed. There are five steps the Bridges for Life team follows.   

  1. Connections with the family are made and a member of the Bridges for Life team can begin acquiring supplies.    
  2. Volunteers begin packing nonperishable and dry foods  
  3. Once the referral is finished the Bridged of life team member connects with the family to finalize details  
  4. All the final items are packed into the care package  
  5. Finally, 3 boxes of food and one box of specialty items are delivered to the family’s door

Follow the link to learn more about the Quarantine Care Package Project. This one example of the programs available to families in Wayne and Union counties. Bridges for Life is helping to strengthen and educate families in the community. While they are focusing on building up families, we assist them by providing much-needed funds and partnerships.   

Partnership and Collaboration   

We work as a facilitator in Wayne and Union counties. We bring together stakeholders, financial support, and partnerships for all of our partner agencies. We like to think of United Way Whitewater Valley as a cheerleader and supporter of our local nonprofits. We are filling in gaps in the community by bringing nonprofits together. Our initiative More Than Words also assists some of our agency partners with their programs. In fact, More Than Words worked alongside Bridges for Life to provide fun activities for kiddos in family quarantine care packages.  

Bridges for Life is an example of a nonprofit that we have brought into the fold. The relationships we have formed in the community is one way that we support organizations exactly like Bridges for Life. We amplify their message about compassion, community, and connection. This exposure brings donors, volunteers, and advocates willing to assist Bridges for Life in their mission to provide at-risk families with an extra layer of support, so they can live happy and healthy lives. To learn more about Bridges for Life and their impact on the Richmond community click here. 

Making A Lasting Impact in 2021 with United Way Whitewater Valley

How Can YOU Make an Impact in 2021 

2020 was an unprecedented year, every month there seemed to be a different national or worldwide event, including the first pandemic in a hundred years. As we move into the New Year, each one of us is hoping for a better year than the last. How can you make this year better not just for yourself, but others as well?   

Be A Catalyst Of Change In Your Community   

When we say you can change your community, we don’t mean by winning the lottery and donating thousands of dollars. Instead, we mean taking

 an active interest in the prosperity and health of your community. This might look like volunteering with one of our partner organizations or spreading the word about an event. When you think about change the first thing that comes to mind is most likely donations. While financial support is important, your time is equally as important. Taking time out of your day to volunteer or to promote one of our partner events, is a critical way that you can support our partner agencies. We understand that time and money are limited and every ounce of support given to us is tremendously appreciated.    

Supporting your community doesn’t just benefit others it also benefits you. Volunteering in your community is good for your mind and body. It counteracts the effects of stress and anxiety. Who doesn’t need some stress and anxiety relief after the year we have endured together? Volunteering also makes you feel closer to your community. No act is too small to make an impact, let’s make 2021 a great year by collaborating together for our community.   

Support Your Community  

As we said before donations are not the only impact you can have, but donations and gifts are one of the key ways we support our partner agencies. As the backbone of support for our agency partners, we give them access to funds and connections. So, you might be asking yourself, how can my donation dollars have an impact at United Way of Whitewater Valley?    

We track the impact that our donor’s dollars have on Wayne and Union counties. As a donor, it can be challenging to find an organization that shows you the impact of your donation. With United Way of Whitewater Valley as the facilitator of all donations, we are able to allocate your gifts to organizations that are having the most impact.    

United Way of Whitewater Valley’ Impact in 2019  

Every year we reflect on the previous year by showing our donors the positive impact they have made. These are displayed in our Global Framework Documents. In 2019, we were dedicated to pursuing change in four specific areas, childhood success, youth success, economic mobility, and access to health. The impact our donors had on our community in 2019 was amazing and every year we strive to inspire more supporters to aid us in creating positive change. If problems are not directly impacting you, they can seem so far away. Our goal by bringing it to your front door is to inspire you to be a part of the positive change.    

In 2019 alone, our partner agencies were able to help 422 children access early childhood education, 7,410 young people participated in out-of-school programs and 5,271 people were able to access healthcare support. These are not just statistics these are real members of our community whose lives were positively impacted by our facilitation of all our donor’s funds.   

Your impact in 2021 matters. You have the ability to make a positive impact on those in your community by advocating for programs, volunteering, or donating. Each of these has a tremendous impact on those who need it most. Make this year the best year it can possibly be by impacting your community.    

Why Give to United Way of Whitewater Valley


As we enter campaign season – or as you’re looking for a new charitable cause to support in our community – you may find yourself asking, “Why give to United Way?” After all, there are plenty of causes and nearly unlimited need in Wayne and Union counties. What makes United Way the best option? Let’s dive into that… 

United Way supports programs that address early childhood education, youth success, economic mobility, and access to healthcare. These targeted areas are all equally important to us because all four must be lifted up and supported to build strong thriving communities. A simpler way to put it: there’s no one good place to start in order to improve things for the people in Whitewater Valley. For example, people often have more economic mobility if they had access to quality early childhood education – but early childhood education can be negatively impacted if there is limited access to healthcare support, if a child’s parents’ economic mobility options are stunted, and so on.  

So what does that have to do with why you should give to United Way? We’ll break it down for you. 

Collective Impact 

Sometimes a person can feel really helpless when faced with the problems we have here in Wayne County and Union County. Where do we start? How can one person get anywhere close to making an impact? That’s where United Way makes a difference – and helps YOU make a difference. Giving a donation to United Way is collaborative. Your ability to give is multiplied when your gift is combined with others. Your gift of $20 towards a cause that means a lot to you becomes $200, or $2,000, or even $20,000 when your contribution is combined with donations from likeminded individuals in the community. The impact is greater because the financial pool is larger. Your gift goes further by Giving to United Way. 


We’ve all heard those horror stories about popular charities where very little of the donated funds actually reach the intended recipients. While many charities do give most of their donated funds to the programs they promise to, the news that some charities aren’t as scrupulous as promised has made donors wary. According to Consumer Reports, there are some steps you can take to ensure your donation is going to a good charity. They recommend verifying each organization’s tax exempt status by searching on the IRS website, watching for credit card processing fees on online giving platforms, and being on guard for charity “soundalikes” – or low-rated charities that have set up similar-sounding names to charities that are trustworthy in an attempt to confuse donors. That’s a lot of work – and you, as a donor, shouldn’t have to go through all of that. That’s why United Way does it differently. 

United Way of Whitewater Valley has marshalled the resources of our communities to identify what’s needed and vetted the charitable organizations best suited to address those needs. All of these organizations are vetted for their impact, outcomes, and effectiveness. Every program meets a need, addresses a root cause of a need, and creates outcomes of change in our four focus areas: early childhood education, youth success, economic mobility, and access to healthcare. When you give to United Way, you can be sure your gift stays local and goes to the people and programs that need it most – you don’t have to choose. 


We discussed collective impact earlier and how your dollars do more when combined with all the donors who give to United Way of Whitewater Valley, but now we want to talk about the people whose lives you’re impacting. With the collective impact from all of our donors, YOU were able to improve the lives of over 21,000 people in our community. That means tens of thousands of people in Wayne and Union counties now have access to the resources they need to thrive. 21,000 people are doing better because of you – and, with numbers like that, the community as a whole starts to improve. Where else can you donate and say that you can improve the lives of thousands? 

If the reach of our campaigns, the trust in the programs we choose to support, and the force of our communities’ collective impact weren’t enough, we’ll give you three more reasons why you should give to United Way of Whitewater Valley. 

  1. It’s easy. Speak to your Campaign Coordinator to make a one-time contribution or set up regular donations through payroll deduction. You can also go straight to our PayPal page and donate there. 
  1. It’s tax deductible. Make sure you get a receipt and save it for tax season. 
  1. It stay’s local. Your donation remains in Wayne and Union counties and supports our communities where its needed most.  

We hope your question of “Why give to United Way?” has been answered and that you will join us in our mission to fight for the health, education, and financial stability for everyone in every community. Each dollar you donate will make Wayne County and Union County better for thousands of people. Join us and encourage your friends and family to join us, too. 

Agency Partners

We are proud to partner with these agencies this year. Click on each logo to learn more about them. 


Helping individuals with disabilities lead fulfilling lives. 

Birth to Five
Helping build strong families.

Boys and Girls Club of Wayne County
Helping children reach their full potential.

Centerville United Methodist

First United Methodist

Every Child Can Read
Helping children with school readiness.

Girls Inc
Inspiring all girls to be smart, strong, and bold

Independent Living Center Providing accessibility to individuals with disabilities.

Oak Park Early Learning
Helping children learn to love learning

Building a healthy spirit, body, and mind for all