This time of year, there is a big focus on giving. We share holiday wishes and cheer, make time for family and friends, and hunt for the perfect gift for that special someone. Many of us also give generously to wonderful nonprofit organizations working hard to provide help — and hope — to struggling families in our community. Each twinkling light and ringing bell reminds us that it’s time to open our hearts and be just a little more patient, a little more kind and a little more generous. Wouldn’t it be great if those festive bells and lights rang and twinkled through all four seasons, helping us embrace that giving spirit all year long?
Extending the holiday season may not be practical, but there is a great way to give now and continue making a difference all year long. When you give to United Way of Whatcom County, your dollars stay local and combine with thousands of other donor gifts to support over 40 projects and programs helping our kids, families, friends and neighbors not just in December, but every single day.
It is estimated that over 100,000 Whatcom County residents will benefit from a United Way funded program over the course of the coming year.
Giving to United Way is so much more than just a one-time gift. We support a huge network of agencies working together to build a stronger community one child, one family, one person at a time. Each year, we hear amazing stories of lives changed through this important work. Homeless teens who were able to avoid the foster care system, stay in school and have a safe place to sleep until their parents could get back into stable housing situations. Infants and toddlers with special needs who are living up to their full potential due to early intervention and wonderful, caring therapists. Parents barely scraping by who can still get to work thanks to affordable childcare options. Brave survivors of domestic violence who found safe places to stay and the resources to help them break unhealthy cycles, re-build their lives and heal their hearts and minds. United Way of Whatcom County is able to impact all of these individuals and more because we focus on a variety of current community needs, not just one issue or program.
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These stories not only keep us inspired every day, they also help measure and demonstrate the success of the programs we support and how well the nonprofits in our community work together to help those in crisis. If a family is struggling to put food on the table, chances are good that they may need help in other areas as well. Having an effective, efficient network of services is important to us, which is one of the reasons we invest so much time and energy vetting each agency and program we support. Whatcom County is home to hundreds of nonprofit organizations, and it can be hard to decide how and where to give. Will your donation be used wisely? Will your money stay local? Are the organizations you care about fiscally sound and responsible? When you give to United Way of Whatcom County, you can be assured the answer is yes.
One question we often get asked is why someone should give to United Way as opposed to donating to one or two organizations directly. The answer is simple. Together, we can do more. United Way of Whatcom County has been conducting fundraising campaigns and partnering with local nonprofits in this community for over 50 years. We have outstanding, longtime connections and relationships with the key nonprofits in education, income and health. We are constantly working to identify crucial issues in our community and leveraging our fundraising ability to direct resources into long-term solutions. We have donors who care deeply about this community and trust us to get the most out of every dollar they give. Our grants are designed to provide steady, stable support for the organizations we work with. Because we can pool dollars from a variety of businesses and individuals, we can provide significant support over the long term, giving new programs the ability to launch successfully and time-tested programs the stability to remain in place for years to come.
It is estimated that over 100,000 Whatcom County residents will benefit from a United Way funded program over the course of the coming year. Perhaps it’s a coworker, a friend, or a neighbor. Maybe you have a personal story of your own. When you support United Way, your gift keeps giving and giving and giving.
If you’re looking for a great way to make a difference this holiday season, get involved with United Way. Join us in making a positive impact every day. I encourage you to give to United Way, keeping in mind that 100 percent of those dollars stay right here in Whatcom County. If you want to do something that feels great, give online at unitedwaywhatcom.org. While you’re there, click around to see how your donation supports an amazing network of agencies and organizations all working together to make the biggest difference possible. The more we raise the more lives we can impact and the more programs we can partner with.
If you already support United Way of Whatcom County, thank you! You are truly making a difference for all of us, today and every day.
Peter Theisen is president and CEO of United Way of Whatcom County. The agency runs more than 150 workplace giving campaigns during the fall to benefit Whatcom County’s Community Impact Fund, which focuses on education, income, and health. For more information about conducting a United Way workplace campaign or for more information about United Way of Whatcom County, go online to unitedwaywhatcom.org.