At this time of year, resolutions are everywhere. Setting goals is important, but the true key to success is to also create a plan. Just like you, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County is committed to success. We are just a few days away from January 1. Which means our organization is wrapping up a 3-year strategic plan and will begin implementing our 2018-2020 plan next week. As we move into the new year, we thought we should share a few significant moments from 2017, let you know about a few things we are excited to tackle in 2018….and share the number one thing that pushes us forward.
2017 Was Memorable:
After running a special fundraising campaign during the spring of 2017, we secured the funds needed to expand the Middle School Success Initiative to the Owen school district and ensured three years of basic operational costs in that district. This puts us a full year ahead of schedule in our launch to a fourth district. We were thrilled with the community response and, over time, hope to repeat this for the other districts.
Since we started in the fall of 2016, we've held 74 Homework Diners (serving more than 6,500 meals). Better yet, 490 families have taken part and many are telling us they are thrilled to have a chance to meet their child's teacher and learn how to tackle the math problems right beside their child.
We invested more than 1.6 million dollars in over 70 solid community programs dedicated to eliminating hunger, housing the homeless, representing vulnerable children in court, assisting people as they climb out of debt, caring day in and day out for our youngest and oldest of neighbors, and much more.
Because of you, our Back To School Supply Drive allowed us to send 2,283 students back to school with a fully stocked backpack (saving local families at least $100,000 dollars).
- More than 700 people volunteered as a part of Days Of Impact - a county wide volunteer experience; and more than 40,000 calls were handled by our NC 2-1-1 Asheville Call Center.
As We Look Forward to 2018 We Are Prepared To:
- Improve our organization’s knowledge and practices regarding diversity, equity and inclusion issues and engage a broader, more diverse group of individuals in all aspects of our work.
- Expand Homework Diners to the Black Mountain and Swannanoa communities via Owen Middle School in January. We'll need volunteers so be sure to check in to see availability and sign up here.
- Continue to create hubs of support for local families in four school districts - Asheville, Enka, Erwin and Owen based on the needs outline by those communities. The first of our new 2018 investments will support a parent leadership program at Asheville Middle School and a parent teacher home visitation program at Erwin Middle School.
- Create new and easy ways for you to see the impact of your giving in our community.
Of course as great as these lists can be, they can also make it seem like everything is going well. This, in turn, can lead people to believe that they are no longer needed. This is far from the truth. Every day, the sand shifts beneath the feet of our most vulnerable community members. More than 55% of local public school students are living at or below the federal poverty line. One in five people in our community is hungry. Affordable housing, mental health and addiction are among the top needs of callers to our 2-1-1 information and referral center. So, while our community is doing great things, much more is left to do.