Saturday, December 20, 2008

You can change the community’s course of action with your contribution

United – relating to or produced by joint action. Way - a course of action. If there was ever an agency that was perfectly described by its definitions, it is United Way.

United—relating to or produced by joint action. That describes the volunteers who have strived to raise funds this year, in spite of tough economic times. It also describes everyone who gave, because together we produce the joint action of providing needed services in our community.

In these tough economic times, donors have chosen to reduce or even eliminate their charitable giving. What joint action is produced? This is a short-term move with long-term implications.

Campaign is significantly down which means United Way is faced with significantly less resources to respond to significantly more needs. United Way volunteers will be faced with tough decisions. Where can we make cuts? Should it be youth programs? Programs for families? Services for seniors? How do we cut the services of food, clothing and shelter during this economy? I know our tough decisions will be repeated by 38 organizations throughout our community. They too will cut budgets internally and then make the hard decision of who can’t be served.

Way – a course of action. During these unsure economic times, what is our course of action as a community? Just like doing the preventive maintenance on our car avoids costly repairs later, investing in your community now avoids costly services later.

Mentoring youth, helping seniors remain in their homes and helping families work towards financial stability are just a few examples of the cost effective programs supported by United Way. And like costly repairs for our car, the alternatives of involvement with social services and juvenile justice, nursing home care and bankruptcy are all expensive outcomes when compared to offering affordable community based services.

You can change the course of action. There is still time to give, and your donation is urgently needed. Take a moment to read the editorials and Letters to the Editor written recently by United Way funded programs to understand more about what is at stake for people if funding decreases because of decreased giving.

Be a part of changing our course of action. Contribute today. Visit to download a pledge form or mail your donation to Marshfield Area United Way, PO Box 771, Marshfield WI 54449. All donations, regardless of the amount, are welcomed and needed.

Contributed by Paula Jero, Marshfield Area United Way’s Executive Director