United Way different from other charities

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 30, 2005

Last week, in the midst of all the pre-holiday rush, our community received an amazing present.

What’s interesting is that the present was given to the community by the community. The price tag was a mere $1.3 million. The long-term benefits of the gift are worth ten times as much value.

“So what was the gift?” you might ask.

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Days before the Dec. 31 deadline, the United Way of the River Cities met its fund-raising goal for 2006. We congratulate all the people who helped the group achieve that mark.

Big deal, right? It’s just another in a long line of charitable organizations hoping to feed itself. Not quite.

OK, for the cynical among us who need a little explanation, the United Way is different that most charitable organizations. The funds that are raised here in the Tri-State stay here. No sending cash off to some corporate tower where some outsider figures out how best to spend it.

Money donated to the United Way of the River Cities, the chapter that includes much of the Tri-State including Lawrence County is spent here. Local people — your friends and neighbors — decide how those funds are distributed.

But how contributions are dispersed is only a tiny part of what makes the United Way so special. Unlike some charitable causes that specialize in particular needs — disaster recovery or elderly care for example — the United Way’s touch can be seen through all aspects of this community. If you know anyone who has been a Boy Scout or Girl Scout, you know someone who has been helped by the United Way. If you know anyone who has ever participated or volunteered with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Tri-State or the Special Olympics, those folks have received assistance from the United Way, too.

People from all walks of life feel the impact of the United Way. This year should be a good one for the agencies assisted by the United Way.

However, despite the group’s milestone of reaching its goal, the need always outweighs the resources. More funds can always be used.

We encourage you to help your community become a better place by donating to the United Way. For more information call (740) 532-2700 or visit unitedwayrivercities.org today.