by David Presley
The Board of Directors of United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County believes the best way to create a strong community is through the three strategies of giving, advocating and volunteering. Advocacy is less about helping one person at a time and more about changing systems to help all of us. At United Way, we believe we are all connected and interdependent. We all win when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, when people are healthy. Public policies and funding decisions can support or hinder that success.
Meeting In Raleigh
Ron Katz, the lead staff member on the Advocacy Committee, traveled to Raleigh in June to meet with legislators representing western North Carolina to share challenges facing our community and how United Way could be used as a resource in their work.“While nonprofits provide important services to our community," he said, "it is important for them to work with elected officials to address core issues. United Way has a unique view of the community to share with our delegates.”
Katz met with several Buncombe County delegates and shared with them how nonprofits not only provide important services to our community, but also play a strong role in the local economy since they provide one in nine jobs in North Carolina.
Data Driven Decisions with NC 2-1-1
He also sat down with legislators from the six other WNC counties United Way’s NC 2-1-1 Asheville Center directly serves. Katz demonstrated how delegates can use 2-1-1 as a social barometer to identify our region’s most prevalent problems. For instance, almost a quarter of the calls had to do with housing and utilities in 2013, but some counties had higher percentages than others. Data like this can inform policy decisions and United Way is available to make that happen.