Friday, May 16, 2008

Of the people, by the people, for the people

By Paula Jero, Executive Director

The quote “…of the people, by the people, for the people,” kept surfacing for me as I participated these past couple of weeks in the process of allocating donations to United Way partner programs.

The “of the people” happened last fall when more than one hundred volunteers conducted the United Way campaign. It is when you as individuals, businesses and workplaces responded through donations and pledges to United Way. More than one million dollars was raised! What a significant accomplishment this community achieved.

The “by the people” is happening now, as volunteers from those same businesses and workplaces decide how the money raised should be distributed in our community. Applications from service providers in our community are carefully reviewed, and tough questions are asked and answered. Ultimately, difficult decisions must be made since the needs are always greater than the resources. As stewards of these dollars, this process allows the best alignment of our resources with the ever changing needs of our community.

The “for the people” is of course when needed services are provided. From birth to the end of life, United Way and its Partner Programs are here and responding to both everyday needs and unexpected events in our community. One out of every four individuals in our community relies on essential services provided by United Way Partner Programs. Meals are delivered to the elderly, the lives of youth are transformed, assistance is given after a fire, families are fed, shelter is provided to those with no housing, respite is given to those needing a break, women are given the support to leave domestic violence and the list goes on.

Ultimately, it is the “for the people” that drives the United Way process. It’s “for the people” that spurs volunteers to ask their co-workers and friends and neighbors for donations, It’s “for the people” that you commit your donations. It is also “for the people” that the volunteers review all of the applications, meet with all of the programs and make the tough funding recommendations.

And it is “for the people” that programs step up to meet the needs of our community. United Way is thankful that “of the people, by the people, and for the people” is at work in our community.

To learn more about Marshfield Area United Way and how you can Give, Advocate, Volunteer call 384-9992 or visit