Have you ever asked, where does my United Way money go? Or maybe you wondered why it’s so important to give to the United Way of Whitewater Valley when you could give directly to the organizations that partner with us. We understand. We get these questions all the time. Answering that question requires looking back on the history of the United Way.
How Did United Way Begin?
As United Way Global tells the story, in 1887, a Denver woman, a priest, two ministers, and a rabbi got together… It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but they didn’t walk into a bar; what they did do was recognize the need to work together in new ways to make Denver a better place.
Frances Wisebart Jacobs, the Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J.O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman put together an idea that became the nation’s first united campaign, benefitting 10 area health and welfare agencies. They created an organization to collect funds for local charities, coordinate relief services, counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and make emergency assistance grants for cases that could not be referred. That year, Denver raised $21,700 for this greater good and created a movement that would become United Way.
Our roots are in collective impact organizing, meaning we work collectively to maximize our local impact. Essentially, we gather funding from various sources and seek to match that funding with other sources, then work with our partners to direct resources to address systemic social issues. So, instead of donating $1.00 to one organization, you can donate $1.00 that’s matched and added to a lot of other dollars and then given to the local organizations that are committed to making the biggest impact.
Why Give To The United Way of Whitewater Valley?
Right after, where does my money go question, we are often asked, why give to your local United Way? The answer is simple; we can maximize your donor dollars to make a bigger impact. What’s more complex is how we do that. We bring people and organizations together to do more than any of us can do on our own. Employers, nonprofits, faith organizations, educators, health providers, community leaders, youth-focused organizations, and many others partner with us.
Together, we tackle some of the world’s toughest issues. We’re after solutions that create real change. We are seeking systemic change in the communities we serve. We often hear about symptomatic social issues; like drug use, people living in poverty, poor health of residents, and more. However, those things are symptoms of bigger issues.
Where Does My United Way Money Go?
So, if we don’t address the symptoms, what do we do? Where does your money go? We focus on root causes, for example, lack of education. There’s plenty of evidence to support that individuals with a high school diploma earn more than those without one. Individuals with an associate degree will earn more than those without one, someone with a bachelor’s degree is likely to earn more than someone with an associate degree, and so on. The bottom line is that education, from cradle to graduation, improves lives. When supporting preschool education, we are contributing to someone who, because they attended preschool, is more likely to graduate high school and attend college. Thereby, that educated person is more likely to be healthier and earn more money to support their family.
However, we don’t just focus on helping kids achieve educational attainment. We are also helping local adults embark on a better life, for example, by supporting organizations focusing on increasing access to healthcare resources. United Way of Whitewater Valley can’t treat the symptoms of poor health. But we can support organizations that are dedicated to improving healthcare access for all members of our community. It’s clear those living in poverty struggle to make ends meet and thereby live a more stressful like. What happens when exposing our bodies to endless stress? Worse health outcomes! Educational attainment is one way to address the root cause of poverty, but another way is financial education. By supporting financial education to help lift people out of poverty. We’re making progress and seeing results.
In summary, your money goes to various organizations that work to solve the complex root causes of social issues in Wayne and Union Counties. You can learn more about program partners by visiting our website. We’re building resilient, equitable communities in Wayne and Union Counties. We ask that you join us.
LEARN MORE ABOUT UNITED WAY OF WHITEWATER VALLEY
Now that we’ve answered the question, where does my money goes with United Way of Whitewater Valley, join us in our fight for the health, education, and financial stability of everyone in Wayne and Union counties by donating today. There is a lot of work to be done which means we need your help to make positive changes in our community.
Get to know more about our program partners working in our four focus areas: childhood success, youth success, economic mobility, and access to health. Read more about their stories here, or sign up for our newsletter to learn more about what we do at United Way of Whitewater Valley.