Over the past 12 years I have been asked many times, what is United Way? People recognize the brand and generally know that there is something good attached to it.
Our local United Way is locally owned and operated. We raise money every year to support a portfolio of programs customized to our community needs and to generate solutions when there is no program to address them. We bring together for profit, non-profit, and government organizations to improve our community in ways no organization can do in a silo.
People generally aren’t asking “what” anymore. They are asking, “why?" Why United Way? My answer is, so we can live in a community that is healthy, safe, and prosperous for everyone.
There are many different, excellent charities to support in our community. United Way raises money for 43 different programs each year. These programs are our most recent portfolio of the non-profit ecosystem that is necessary for a healthy, safe, and prosperous community.
Over 600 local volunteer hours go into to refining this portfolio each year. Your United Way makes three-year investments that rotate between Health, Financial Stability, and Education. One area is evaluated each year based on program outcomes and new proposals from the community to decide upon the next three-year investment.
We have a challenging year ahead of us. We have new mental health challenges, and the previous ones were already daunting. We know we are facing learning loss due to the pandemic. Regardless of the challenge presented, we are here to fight for you.
Your local United Way will be investing in education. Our volunteers will have to make investments knowing that the trajectory is no longer linear and will have to adapt with our current environment.
You may ask yourself again, “Why United Way?" The answer is – so that we can address mental health. But, if we cannot address homelessness and hunger, the outcomes will still fall short. We can address housing, but if substance use is still an issue, that housing solution won’t sustain. We can address hunger, mental health, and housing, but without a caring, supportive adult, most children will struggle to succeed.
Our community needs to live in a united way. We need to combine our strength and expertise around our families and help pave the way to success. Together, we can live in a healthy, safe, and prosperous community.
United We Feed. United We Teach. United We Heal. United We Thrive.
Tommy Taylor, born in Mansfield, Ohio, achieved his Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Guilford College, and most recently achieved his Masters in Public Administration from UNCW in 2019. Tommy’s career started as a Crisis and College Counselor at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia. After 4 years, Tommy moved to his favorite vacation spot, Wilmington, North Carolina, and started his new career as the Regional Development Manager for Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC. Six years later, after tripling food distribution and doubling revenues, he accepted the Vice President of Community Impact position at the United Way of the Cape Fear Area. Now serving as the CEO, Tommy is thankful to be able to see the good side of the world that many people do not get a chance to experience and to be able to be part of the solutions to our community's deepest problems.
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