The Way Ahead for United Way
United Way of Leavenworth County is changing the way we do business. From the beginning, when we functioned as a community chest, we have always been a pass-through entity. That means that we were the single source fundraiser for County charitable organizations and then we would distribute those funds to our partner agencies annually. As the world changes so must we. Over the past few years, United Way of Leavenworth County has conducted and refined our community assessment to better focus our fundraising dollars. Recently the United Way board voted on a priority of effort and that was behavioral health and addiction intervention. Sadly, our society has broken down to the point where behavioral health and addiction intervention is becoming a crisis. We see it on the streets, in our schools, and the homeless shelter, in the food shelters, in the workplace and just about everywhere we look. A number of activities in our county already deal with the effects of this crisis to include the Guidance Center, the interfaith Community Shelter, Alliance Against Family Violence, CASA and the Women’s Community Y. The fact is, we simply do not have enough resources dedicated to deal with the increasing incidence of mental health and addiction in our community. The United Way will advocate for and allocate a priority of our funds towards tackling this crisis in our community.
Advocating for and helping to fund more resources for behavioral health and addiction intervention will have a positive effect on our community. However, we believe this is still not the root cause of the dramatic rise in behavioral health and addiction in our country, and we also need to attack those root causes.
In addition to moving to a more philanthropic model, United Way of Leavenworth County will work with our partner agencies and advocate for greater efficiency in charitable organization efforts, less redundancy, increasing complementary efforts and information sharing, and possibly having key activities needed by all agencies at the United Way, such as grant writing.
The first step in this process is to form a focus group with our partner agencies, all charitable agencies in the community and community leaders from throughout the county. We propose to have serious discussions on how United Way and our community can best work towards the objectives stated above.
Larry Martin, Chairman
United Way of Leavenworth County