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Stemming Today's Flood of Needs

As we've marked the 90 th Anniversary of your local United Way this year, I have been making an analogy between the physical flood that devastated the city in 1913 and the flood of needs washing over our community today.   The highlights of the Priorities Report shared below are just a glimpse.   To learn more about the very real and extensive challenges in our three-county area, you can view our recently completed Community Assessment online by clicking here.


Your United Way is working to mobilize the human and financial resources of our community on behalf of a network of health and human services.   As a stakeholder, your voice matters.   and please share our progress with others.


Addressing Priority Needs

Last week the Board of Directors of your local United Way approved the 2004 Priorities Report, which will guide the United Way funding decisions and community impact work for the next three years.   The Priority Teams, comprised of a cross-section of volunteers with a range of valuable expertise, studied the data in United Way's recently completed Community Assessment to identify high needs in which United Way can make the biggest impact.   These priorities (outlined below) are more focused than the initial three areas, but still broad by design as we continue to work with our stakeholders to define what is core for this community.

Priority 1 – Children, Youth and Families

Long-term prevention is an over-arching goal, but United Way must balance this with continued support of the safety net for basic, intervention, and crisis needs.

Basic Needs – adequate and affordable housing; healthcare including mental health; employment; and safety.

Crisis Intervention – family violence; and emergency food and shelter.

Education – to foster education including school readiness; mentoring, guidance, and support for academic success; and building parent support, involvement, and understanding.

Life Skills – positive parenting/parent mentoring; and economic self-sufficiency including financial “literacy”.


Priority 2 – Positive Living/Vulnerable Populations

This area also requires a balanced approach between prevention and intervention.   The
volunteers believe that United Way's efforts should be targeted to our most vulnerable neighbors and primarily support direct services rather than advocacy – because the scope of promoting healthy lifestyles for the population at large is too broad for United Way to make a measurable impact.

Access to Services – removing barriers such as lack of transportation.

Basic Life-Sustaining Needs for Vulnerable Populations – including medical prescriptions, affordable housing, and adequate nutrition.

Help with Daily Living Activities – supporting independent living.

Mental Health – including counseling services and other treatment.

Supporting Caregivers – providing respite, resources, and assistance.


Priority 3 – Community Capacity

The overall focus of this area is to make connections and match needs/resources .   Again there is an identified need for both prevention and crisis intervention services, documenting the importance of ensuring a continuum of care.

Agency Collaborations and Nonprofit Development –increasing efficiency and effectiveness.

Community-wide Coordination of Services – reducing barriers and ensuring a core safety net.

Neighborhood/Community Development – involving citizens in addressing their own needs.


Be A Champion

Nine decades ago the community pulled together to respond collectively to the needs in our community.   Today that remains the power of working in a united way and giving through the United Way.   Our community needs your support now more than ever.


If you care about children, youth and families…if you care about our most vulnerable neighbors…if you care about building the capacity of our local nonprofit sector and our community…please be a champion for your United Way.   Endorse our efforts, share our progress with your colleagues and friends, and encourage them to make a contribution.   And thank you for giving as generously as you can.




Marc R. Levy

President and Chief Executive Officer


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