We’ve written about United Way before and pointed out that, while this organization does vital work for our community, most people don’t have a grasp of exactly what United Way actually is.
United Way is a global umbrella organization that provides funding for local agencies offering services to the community. Our local United Way works with over 30 agencies, known as partners, such as the Boys and Girls Club, Meals on Wheels and the Coalition for Compassion and Justice (CCJ). United Way does not directly provide services to individuals, but helps fund the agencies that do provide those services, such as food, housing assistance, healthcare, education and after-school care.
This year United Way has been especially called on to help. With schools and businesses shut down, United Way stepped in to help the Boys and Girls Club here in Prescott, making it possible for them to remain open through the days rather than just afternoons, to look after the children of essential workers who have to work. Meals on Wheels has also seen an increase in requests for meals, and United Way was able to help fund this. In total United Way has given $125,000 in emergency funds this year in Yavapai County.
Every year United Way hosts a Campaign Kickoff to showcase the work the organization has done over the past year and raise funds. This year it will do the same, though without the stress on fundraising. This year’s United Way event is meant to acknowledge the donors who have helped keep these important programs alive, and to share the work the partner agencies are doing to help keep Yavapai County healthy.
Because our county is so large there will be several similar events in what the organizers call the Campaign Kickoff Roadshow. These events are free, though attendance will be limited to maintain social distancing. The Campaign Kickoff Roadshow event in Prescott will be at the rodeo grounds on Friday, September 25, 5-7:30pm. Public health guidelines will be followed: guests will be asked to both wear masks and practice social distancing, and catered food will be pre-packaged. Similar events will take place in Cottonwood and Bagdad, with details on the website.
Brandon Black, events coordinator for United Way of Yavapai County, insists that United Way doesn’t like to “toot its own horn,” but rather seeks to highlight the great work its partner agencies are doing. If each agency has what it needs to serve its purpose, whether that's childcare, job training or providing hot meals, then United Way is accomplishing its mission.
However, as Mary Ann Suttles, who recently joined the UWYC team, points out, with the restrictions and life complications Covid-19 has brought, there will be more need for assistance in our community and less funding to address those needs. Everyone is warmly encouraged to come to the Campaign Kickoff Roadshow to celebrate the resilience and generosity of our community.
To learn more about United Way of Yavapai County or to donate, go to yavapaiuw.org.