United Way strengthens community

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: December 5 2012 | 12:01 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 2:57 am in

By Marc and Cathy Gullickson

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Question: What happens when 22,000 donors, 500 companies, 40 community partners, scores of volunteers and United Way get together?

Answer: In Eastern Iowa, what happens is almost unbelievable. More than $10 million is raised and put to work, helping nearly 100,000 people in need improve their lives.

This year, we are the volunteer chairs of the United Way of East Central Iowa ( http://unitedwayofeastcentraliowa.org/) campaign. Our job is to help communicate the importance of United Way’s work and its commitment to a healthy, stable and educated community.

Some of the things we’ve learned this year are sobering. In Iowa, almost one-fourth of our working households don’t earn enough to meet their basic needs. For single-parent households, that fraction triples. Almost 13,000 children in United Way’s six-county area are not certain where their next meal will come from, and more than 15,000 of our older adults are in need of a nutritious meal.

With these realities, we see increasing needs in our community, and we need your help. With your donations, United Way can respond, funding programs that meet needs while also addressing the root causes of the problems.

Programs that receive United Way funding provide food for the hungry, mentors for youth, medical and dental care for those who need it, skills training to help people get jobs and achieve financial independence, as well as many other services our neighbors need.

We marvel at the magnitude of what can be accomplished when generous people and effective human service programs work together. It’s enough to warm the heart of the Grinch himself!

So why United Way? We believe United Way is uniquely positioned to address critical needs in our area, utilizing its understanding of the community and its relationships to work closely with our excellent non-profits that provide vital services.

Your investment in United Way is carefully stewarded, supporting programs with proven outcomes — programs that help our neighbors and friends, and make our community stronger.

Learn more about the specific work of United Way and its community partners by visiting www.uweci.org. Make your donation online, or mail it to United Way, 317 Seventh Avenue SE, Suite 401, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401.

If you already made your gift to United Way, we sincerely thank you. If not, please give today. Together we can do amazing things.

Marc and Cathy Gullickson, of Cedar Rapids, are the volunteer campaign chairs for the 2012 United Way of East Central Iowa campaign. Marc is the president at Ryan Companies/Midwest, and Cathy is retired president of the Mercy Medical Center Foundation and a community volunteer. Comments: mcgullickson@gmail.com

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