United Way continues to make a difference

Published 6:16 am Sunday, October 21, 2012

Column: Live United, by Garry Hart

There isn’t a day that goes by where we are not asked to give to a cause. These messages reach us by various ways; in the mail, we are asked to send money to assist those in need. Over email, we are asked to send money via the web. On TV and radio, we have to send money to a post office box in Florida. These messages are asking us to give, asking us to make a difference.

Garry Hart

With all those messages, I am overwhelmed on where to make a difference. When I donate, I ask myself, is my assistance relevant to a cause? There appears to be so many worthy programs that need our help, where does one start?

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Over the past 20 years, I have given to the United Way of Freeborn County. The reason why I continue to give is because I know the United Way makes a difference. I know the United Way gives me a choice on what type of program I can assist with. I know that giving to the United Way of Freeborn County makes a difference to those who are the most in need. The United Way is a community based, community run, non-profit organization that changes lives locally, here in our own backyard.

The United Way provides support to nearly 30 programs making a difference in the lives of so many people who are in need. I find it reassuring that over 98 percent of the funds raised remain in our community. I ask myself, what other agency can provide that kind of track record?

The United Way of Freeborn County also provides volunteers to local programs. There are many opportunities available to assist local agencies with your talent and interest. I know the time I spent volunteering was appreciated and worth my effort. I also understand without my help, those agencies would not be able to provide the services they do.

This year, when you are asked to give to the United Way, please take a minute to think about all the worthwhile and trustworthy programs that need your assistance. Each year, more local nonprofits are faced with less funding from grants and financial assistance. Your donation and support does make a difference, here at a local level.

I know when I send in my donation, that the United Way of Freeborn County will be a good steward of my funds. There are about 15 local people on the board of directors that oversees the United Way. It is also important to understand that the 30 nonprofit programs that are part of the United Way of Freeborn County go through an annual application process. This process provides checks and balances on the merit of each agency in order to be part of the United Way. Be assured, your time, talent and resources are well taken care of.


Garry Hart works at Cedar Valley Services, an agency supported by the United Way.