Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gifts to United Way create powerful change

By Stacey Oelrich, Communications Director

When I picked up my mail the other day I was greeted by the usual suspects: credit card bill, cell phone bill, two or three pieces of junk mail and something from my alma mater, UW-Green Bay (UWGB). I followed through my familiar pattern. I tossed the junk, paid the bills and set aside the UWGB envelope for later.

When I eventually got around to looking at it, I saw it was a letter asking to support the University. I received a good education from UWGB and still carry lessons learned and memories of supportive professors and staff with me, so I pulled out my checkbook.

After signing my name to the check, I realized I also wanted to support where I started my undergraduate degree, UW-Marshfield/Wood County, plus I had already made my United Way contribution earlier this fall.

With the holidays right around the corner, I paused. Could I really afford the bills, the budget for my holiday expenses and all of these donations?

A question we are frequently asked is “I give to other organizations close to my heart. Why should I give to United Way?”

We all have many organizations where we invest time and money, but United Way is the one organization that gives individuals, families and our community the building blocks for everyone to have the opportunity for a quality education that leads to a stable job, an income that can support a family through retirement and good health.

Your gift to United Way works to address the most critical needs in the Marshfield area.
United Way funded programs don’t just give people in need a quick fix that will help for a day or get them through a month. They identify the heart of the issue and then help produce real, lasting change.

Mary is missing more work, but it’s because she has trouble reading. Her company is implementing a new system and she can’t understand the new manuals to help her learn the changes. She connects to a United Way program that improves her reading skills.

Alice and Dave’s rent is past due, but it’s not Christmas shopping that has them strapped for cash. They used credit cards for everyday expenses and are overwhelmed by their mounting debt. They find a United Way program that teaches them how to budget and make a plan to pay off the credit cards.

Your contribution goes to help these people and more. You may never know the people you have helped through your generosity to United Way. But there’s always the chance one day you’ll be the one whose life has been changed for the better because of your neighbor’s generosity.

Take a moment to reflect on all the blessings in your life, the sorrow and joys alike. Then, if you’ve received a letter from Marshfield Area United Way, take another look at it and decide how you can be part of powerful change. Make a contribution. Volunteer.

To learn more, visit or call 384-9992.

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