United Way of Central Indiana has recently kicked off their annual campaign with a goal of almost $40 mil. Personally, I started supporting United Way when I finished college and entered the working world in 1979(yes, I am that old J). I recall that I started with $5/pay coming out of my paycheck and every year I increased it another $5/pay until I had passed the $1,000/year mark. Today, United Way is still a philanthropic priority after tithing to our church.
I have two brief comments on my personal perspective of United Way:
1) In my mind, United Way plays a key role in studying and responding to many of the most important issues we face in our community. Though they can’t “fix” these problems on their own, they provide a basic infrastructure that we count on to help address them. I am on the board of Southeast Community Services in Fountain Square and the unrestricted operating support they receive from United Way is their life blood. My family makes our annual pledge to United Way ‘unrestricted’ because we know how important it is for the United Way team to be able to allocate resources to the place where they anticipate the greatest impact can be made.
2) Don’t lose your connection when you change jobs. I started my career in the big corporation world and appreciated the ease of payroll deduction. The annual workplace campaign was a convenient reminder and time to renew my pledge. When I changed employers, sometimes United Way fell off my radar and it took a year or more to get back into the cycle. After I started my own business, there was no “campaign coordinator” (it was just me in the office ) and with everything else going on it took me a couple years to get back into the routine. Now, I have our family checking account set to send a donation to United Way every month so that I don’t have another lapse. If you have changed employers or gone out on your own, don’t forget that United Way still needs your support – now more than ever.