United Way encourages residents to be part of the solutionUnited Way has a long and rich history in our community. Many remember the days of Community Chest and Community Funds with neighborhoods passing an envelope to collect money.
United Way has a long and rich history in our community. Many remember the days of Community Chest and Community Funds with neighborhoods passing an envelope to collect money.
Nationally, United Way started as a Community Chest in 1932 in response to growing and complex human needs. No longer could family members or neighbors alone informally deal with the growing needs that faced them.
It was 1949 when Alexandria area residents organized the Alexandria Community Fund, with a name change in 1970 to Alexandria Community Chest. The name changed again in 1974 to the Heart of Lakes United Way and then again in 2007, to the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties.
Donations for the first fundraising campaign in 1949 totaled $13,325. The funds raised were used for Christmas decorations and candy bags for children, as well as for freight to send clothing to Germany after the war.
Over the years, fundraising has grown to $633,000, thanks to the efforts of thousands of dedicated volunteers. A listing of past presidents and campaign chairs can be found online at www.uwdp.org.
United Way’s efforts have continued to evolve from a primarily fundraising and fund distribution agenda to a community impact agenda with focus on our communities’ most essential and critical needs.
United Way is working to advance the common good by focusing on education, income and health. These are the building blocks for a good life – a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement and good health.
Our goal is to create long lasting changes that prevent problems from happening in the first place.
United Way will achieve this through:
Education: Help children and youth achieve their potential through education by supporting the learning, development and sense of belonging of children and youth so that they become responsible adults.
Income: Promote financial stability and independence to ensure basic human needs of food, housing, clothing and safety are met.
Health: Improve people’s health through higher levels of positive health.
Advancing the common good is less about helping one person at a time and more about changing systems to help all persons.
As a result, Community Impact Coalitions were formed in both Douglas and Pope counties to develop strategies to address the challenges for families and individuals dealing with financial stability issues.
Representatives from schools, public health, West Central Community Action, Workforce Center and funded agency representatives meet regularly to develop solutions to current issues.
Local residents are encouraged to be part of the solution by giving, advocating and volunteering. For more information on how to get involved with United Way of Douglas & Pope Counties, call (320) 763-4840 or visit the website www.uwdp.org.