As we all prepare to close out this unprecedented and challenging year, I find myself filled with so many emotions related to successes, struggles, changes and transformations. But mostly, I am filled with with immense gratitude and cautious optimism.
Grateful barely seems like a qualified description for the way I feel as we near the end of our fundraising efforts for our 2020 United Way Campaign. As the United Way director, I prepared myself, my board and our partners for the reality that this was going to be the most challenging fundraising year, we have seen certainly in the seven years I have been leading this organization. Approximately 75% of our annual donations come directly from the generous employees of the local businesses that run workplace campaigns, and we know so many individuals and families have spent the year struggling, worried and fearful. We knew that asking folks to invest in our work, even if they wanted to, was going to be a difficult request. We also knew what a difficult year this has been for our small business, many of our corporate leaders, our school districts, and our healthcare systems.
This campaign season also found me unable to meet with employees, give presentations, and personally share the message of our mission and our local impact. It was a year in which we knew our support would be needed “Now More Than Ever,” but our ability to fundraise would be drastically limited.
And yet, so many of you stepped up to support to our efforts, to show your commitment to your communities, to use your investment to say that you want to lift up others during this incredibly hard time. And I can’t say THANK YOU enough. Although we will end this campaign season down from past years, we will still end it with SO much gratitude, the ability to support MANY local nonprofits, programs & initiatives, and the knowledge that we will continue to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our communities as strongly as we can!
And that fills me with so much hope as we enter 2021. It will not be an easy year. The struggles and challenges of 2020 will not disappear, and may in fact actually compound for a time being. But I was given a front row seat to the dedication our communities have to supporting one another, to investing in assistance for those in need, and to choosing to love and care for one another.
I believe in the power of community, but even more so, I believe in the power of OUR communities.
Thank you for being with us throughout 2020 as we did all we could, and we hope you’ll continue with us in 2021 as we learn how to do even more.
On behalf of United Way, I wish you and your families all as safe, healthy and happy New Year!
With sincerest thanks,
United Way Executive Director