United Way represents community change

United Way represents community change
by William L. Bulla

Just about everyone has heard of United Way of America. United Way is a coalition of charitable organizations that has traditionally pooled efforts in fund raising. In the 1990s, more and more United Ways have focused on community building through local partnerships with government, foundations, schools, and other organizations.
United Way of America has been around for many years. The organization has roots in Denver, Colorado, where in 1887 church leaders began the Charity Organization Society, which coordinated services and fund raising for 22 agencies. Many Community Chest organizations (groups founded in the first half of the twentieth century that jointly collected money from local businesses and workers and distributed it to community projects), joined the American Association for Community Organizations in 1918. The first Community Chest was founded in 1913 in Cleveland, Ohio. The number of Community Chest organizations increased from 39 to 353 between 1919 and 1929, and surpassed 1000 by 1948. By 1963, and after several name changes, the term United Way was adopted.
The organization raises money in a number of ways, chiefly through the workplace, where employees can have automatic payroll deductions for the United Way.
United Way identifies and builds on community strengths and assets.
"Your United Way is becoming an element of community change," says Brook Manville, executive vice president for United Way of America and director of its Center for Community Leadership.
During the 49th annual dinner of the United Way of Washington County, which occurred this past June at the Four Points Sheraton in Hagerstown, Manville attended as guest speaker. The theme for the evening's event was "Building a Stronger Community...One Life at a Time."
Manville went on to challenge the more than 240 people in his audience to consider United Way not just as a conduit for donations, but as a transforming leader which brings people together to make a lasting impact in the community.
He reminded them that their work is not measured by the dollars raised or numbers served, but by the number of lives changed.
The author of pioneering articles on organizational learning and knowledge management, Manville knows his stuff.
Prior to joining United Way of America, Manville was chief learning officer of Saba, a Silicon Valley company that is the leading provider of "e-learning infrastructure" and human capital management solutions. Before that, he was a partner and chief operating officer at McKinsey & Co., specializing in organizational development and knowledge-related strategy.
"United Way honors the men and women who help build a stronger Washington County community through their volunteer efforts," said Dale Bannon, executive director of United Way of Washington County. "The annual dinner affords us an opportunity to express our thanks to those who care through service to others."
The Jesse L. Kagle, Sr. Award, named in memory of a long-time executive director of United Way, is presented annually to someone who is currently or will be attending HCC seeking a degree in a human service curriculum. This year it was awarded to Yvette Wilson. Ms. Wilson will start her second year at Hagerstown Community College (HCC) in the fall. She plans to continue her education to receive a Masters Degree in social work. The Community Action Council, where she recently completed an internship, nominated Ms. Wilson for the award.
Howard Kaylor won the Jesse L. Kagle, Sr. Service Award. It is presented each year to an individual who has significantly demonstrated volunteer dedication to the community, especially through the United Way.
Kaylor has served as the leadership giving chair and has committed many hours on the board of directors, finance, and foundation committees. He was nominated for his humble spirit and endless care for the community. Kaylor has been involved with United Way since 1963. He has been a stock broker for 52-years and has been employed at Ferris Baker Watts since 1970. Kaylor has been active with the Washington County Museum, and recently he and his wife sponsored the design and construction of the Museum's Lakeside Garden.
Other volunteers honored were outgoing board members Roger Johnston and Spence Perry. Gary Wright and Mike Zampelli were thanked for their role as 2005 campaign co-chairs.
Appreciation was expressed to Board President Noel Williams for his leadership. He will continue on the board. "Community involvement is important to me. United Way provides the opportunity to make the most effective and efficient impact," Williams said.
United Way knows that the most effective way to improve lives is to address the root causes of the community's pressing issues. The only way these needs are reduced or eliminated is through community partnerships. It takes everyone working together to make the biggest impact.
Manville's reference to "community change" illustrated how the generosity of donors and volunteers made such a significant impact on the community through the 39-health and human service programs among the United Way's partner agencies. The funds that can be allocated to these programs are donations that are not restricted for a specific agency by donors. These unrestricted funds from the annual United Way campaign represents a significant portion of the partner agencies budgets. An all-volunteer committee reviews the agencies' requests and invests these unrestricted donations into programs, which produce results. The volunteers monitor the effectiveness of these programs throughout the year.
The following United Way partner agencies will receive funding as a result of the United Way's 2005 fund drive: Alzheimer's Association, American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Boys & Girls Club, CASA, Commission on Aging, Community Action Council, Community Free Clinic, Food Resources, Girl Scouts, Girls, Inc., Horizon Goodwill Industries, Interfaith Service Coalition, Memorial Recreation, Parent-Child Center, Villa Maria of Washington County, W House, Walnut Street Community Health Center, and YMCA.
Nine hundred fifty thousand of allocable funds are being distributed, plus $229,333 donor-designated funds, for a cumulative total of $1,179,333 are being invested in Washington County's health and human service needs Bannon stated.
Prior to the dinner and program, a business meeting was held to elect officers and new board members to begin in the 2006-2007 year. New board members include Teresa Angle, William Beard, Ryan Lampton, Melinda Marsden, David Perkins, and Dr. Joseph Ruzicka.
New officers elected were AnJanette Doll, as the new president; Trey Alter, vice-president; Carol Mowen, secretary; and Alfred Martin, treasurer.
We are a community of caring, giving people. Volunteer and do your part in helping build a better community for us all.
Volunteering at United Way is very much appreciated, however, the volunteer opportunities don't stop there-contact United Way for member agency contact information and volunteer throughout Washington County. Places like The Alzheimer's Association, Western Maryland Chapter, Exchange Club Parent-Child Center, and Hospice of Washington County, Inc. need your help too.
Contact: United Way of Washington County, Maryland, Inc., 18706 Crestwood Drive, Hagerstown, Maryland 21742. Phone: 301-739-8200. Web: www.unitedwaywashcounty.org