We all recognize that there are many people in our community who need our help. These community members may be in financial crisis, facing struggles of health or disability, experiencing violence in their home, the turmoil of substance abuse, or the despair of mental illness. We help as much as we can, but as the needs continue, we find ourselves saying, “There’s only so much we can do.”
Beginning July 1st, 2015, United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley is removing “only” from this phrase. With your help, we invite our community to rally together and say, “There is so much we can do!”
United Way, its volunteers and partner organizations spent considerable time identifying key issues affecting the well-being of people in our area. These are the primary negative factors that become obstacles to our community members having the best opportunities for a good quality of life. By getting to the root of these issues, we will do the most good for the most people.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR A GOOD QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ALL
Successful Children’s Network
Successful Children’s Network is United Way’s education initiative. It has one clear focus: ensuring children enter school ready to succeed—not just in school, but in life. Approximately 5000 children in our area live in households below 200% federal poverty guidelines. These children are at a much higher risk of not being ready for kindergarten as their classmates from more affluent households. Their emotional, physical and cognitive development has likely been hindered by persistent poverty, poor nutrition, absent parents, homelessness, stress, and many other factors. With 85% of the brain’s development occuring before kindergarten, how will these adversities affect their later life?
Successful Children’s Network is a partnership of community programs using evidence-based practices and assessments to support children and their families in these low-income households. When you give, you help support the services to nurture these children’s development so we can help ensure they enter onto a path to success.
Financial Stability Partnership
Twenty-seven percent of area household incomes below $25,000 per year. Families are struggling every day to decide whether to pay rent or buy food. For too many, the only answer they see is the corner cash advance store, which sinks them further into debt. Eighty-three hundred area residents have no post-high-school education and over 2,000 have no high school degree, so their chances of earning living wages are low.
Financial Stability Partnership is a collaboration of area programs and organizations working together to help those below 200% federal poverty guidelines gain financial stability through counseling, education and career advancement. This includes giving better access to specific skills training based on skills gaps in our area so individuals can earn a good living and local industries can grow. It means teaching those who can’t make ends meet how to pay down their debt and save for their future, as well as financial literacy programs for young adults so they have a solid foundation for money management. When you give, you help move people and families out of financial risk and keep them on a path of success.
Community Health Initiative
United Way’s Community Health Initiative brings together programs and institutions in a concerted effort to address four key health issues in our area: mental health, obesity, alcohol misuse, and domestic violence.
No doubt you hear about these four issues all the time on national news—and they are the prevailing health issues of the Greater Chippewa Valley. The fact is, more than 1 in 10 of us in Chippewa and Eau Claire County suffer serious psychological distress. Over 22% drink excessively and 30% are clinically obese. Bolton Refuge House and Family Support Center indicated 2,029 victims of domestic violence in 2010, though only a little over 1,000 were reported to law enforcement that year.
These issues create tremendous barriers to a good quality of life. Mental health issues can be an oppressive strain on judgment and motivation. Heavy drinking cost Wisconsin over 6 billion dollars in health care costs and lost productivity. Obesity is a leading risk factor to serious chronic diseases. And domestic violence creates a pervasive cycle of future abuse, traumatic stress, and leads to any of a number of other developmental, financial and health issues for the victims and the children of victims. When you give, you help to support a network of programs that will expand awareness and services, gather specific measurements, and focus on clear outcomes to promote healthier lifestyles and behaviors.
While we work to address the root causes of important community issues, many individuals in our region need our support right now. That’s why, when you give, you are helping to provide the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and basic health services to those in crisis.
STRONGER GOALS. STRONGER COLLABORATION. GREATER RESULTS.
There really is so much we can do, and so much we can accomplish, but we need the support of the community to do it. For 50 years, this community has been the lifeblood of United Way in supporting local needs. Last year, when people in our community needed help, they got it over 65,000 times from programs supported by United Way. Today, United Way is more results-driven than ever, and more focused on community-wide change. We must realize that we are all in this together. Whenever a child succeeds in school, a family is more financially stable, and individuals are healthier, the Chippewa Valley becomes stronger.
Beyond our focus on the education, income and health initiatives while helping ensure basic needs are met, United Way also does extensive volunteer recruitment to provide additional community support. Yearly, United Way recruits over 1,000 volunteers for activities such as Day of Caring, Stamp Out Hunger, Shoebox Project, Global Youth Service Day and other services. We are also a recognized source for people to find volunteer opportunities through our annual Volunteer Guide, and through direct contact with us.
WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE
Investing in United Way and our mission of community impact is a clear example of optimism. Giving to United Way is a statement of belief that we truly can make the Greater Chippewa Valley a better place for everyone. We all know the Chippewa Valley is a great place to live—for those of us fortunate enough to be able to enjoy what it can offer. It’s our obligation to make sure everyone has that same opportunity.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
- Want to know more about our initiatives? Follow the links to our education, income and health pages.
- Want to know more about United Way and its accountability? View our annual report.
- Want to learn more about United Way activities, events, supporters, as well more information on issues affecting our community? Read our quarterly newsletters.
- Want to see who our current partners are? Visit our Program Partner page.