If you missed our Community Celebration held April 13th, you missed the ceremonial closing of our 2016 community drive, which officially ends with our fiscal year, June 30. More importantly, we didn’t get to thank you along with many of our treasured volunteers, corporate investors, and area businesses that played a big role in helping us make a difference in the four counties we serve.
In years past United Way of Southeast Missouri (UWSEMO) and others in our network have focused on the amount of funds collected. While this is imperative to the work we do, we and many other nonprofits are choosing to communicate more about the impact we are able to make with those funds. Naturally, donors want to know just how their donations are helping, and we are excited to share the news!
Organizational goals for fiscal year 2016-17 included expanding our impact in other areas outside of our Cape Girardeau headquarters. Our Community Investment Committee chose several ways to support this goal:
- Increase funding to the Boys and Girls Club to launch an after-school program in Scott City, which opened in January
- Invest in a new 4-H leadership program in Scott County that provides career prep to junior and senior high school students
- Support a food pantry in Bollinger County that helps an average of 40 families a month.
We also created awareness of need and the organizations that help meet community need through United Days of Caring. This event (UDOC) kicked off our community drive with a weekend of projects in every county we serve. They included building Habitat homes, helping women’s shelters, constructing Little Free Libraries, and collecting various supplies for families and students.
Team United Goals included an internal focus on strengthening relationships in Cape and beyond. We welcomed two new Jackson businesses to our list of workplace campaigns, Pepsi Mid-America and Liberty Utilities. We became regular members at meetings of ABCToday, a program of Big Brothers, Big Sisters implemented in all Cape Girardeau Public Schools. The first in the country to be district-wide, the program tracks the progress of every child in Attendance, Behavior and Coursework (ABC) and gives extra help to those not meeting the goal.
We also became members of the Perryville Chamber. At the time we had no idea how important this would become when the February tornado rocked this community. Because we already had established connections through our student fund in the schools and our Chamber membership, we were able to quickly establish an emergency fund that has netted over $67,000 with every dollar being returned to the recovering Perryville families. (For more about how these investments are determined, please see this month’s blog.)
These are just a few of the accomplishments we are proud to report, especially when 2/3 of our team members haven’t even been here a year! We couldn’t do it without the help and support of so many volunteers and donors. Thank you for helping us to strengthen our community!