Gratitude and Giving

The United Way of Story County (UWSC) 2018 LIVE UNITED annual campaign has concluded. Thanks to the many donors and partners we have had this year, we raised an impressive $2,230,206! It takes an entire community to truly LIVE UNITED, and we believe we are indeed finding solutions that are changing lives around us. 
Although raising more than $2,000,000 for the fifth year in a row is remarkable, we know the value of this number is even greater when we look at what our community receives in return. For every dollar donated to this years’ campaign, Story County will be getting a $1.99 return on investment. Let us paint you a picture of what this looks like in our community.
When you donate to UWSC, we are able to take those dollars and allocate funds to quality programs that our partner agencies offer. With these dollars, agencies can leverage their assets by applying for additional funding through matching grants. Through all of our partner agencies, more than 1.7 million dollars were brought in through additional grants and special projects. ChildServe, an agency that offers care to children with special health needs, was able to fund an inclusive play area that will be accessible to all children no matter their ability level. Central Iowa RSVP, a partner of ours that focuses on offering adult volunteers experiences to help community needs, secured federal funding through the Corporation for National and Community Service, allowing more volunteers to give back in our community. Leveraged dollars alone almost double our campaign’s impact! 
UWSC was also able to secure additional grants leading to another $107,000 in funding for our initiatives in Education and Financial Stability. With this funding, we were able to help over 100 households save an average of $1,700 using MyFreeTaxes, increase our summer food program by 6,000 meals over two years, and create integral partnerships to continue to move forward in our core initiatives.
Under our education umbrella, UWSC sustained a $96,480 investment in Iowa Reading Corps members. These individuals are full-time volunteers receiving a living stipend while they train and work as Elementary Literacy tutors in Story County schools. We currently have 8 full-time members working in seven different schools. As local elementary principal Justin Jeffs states, “…every student shows growth in the program. No other resource or intervention has the accountability in real time or responds quicker than Iowa Reading Corps.” Over the summer, our enrichment programs across the county were able to supply over 24,000 meals to local students in need. That translates to almost $70,000 in meal reimbursements for students qualifying for free/reduced meals.
Our annual LIVE UNITED Food Drive, under our Financial Stability umbrella, brought in over 11,000 pounds of food for local food pantries and utilized more than 100 volunteer hours resulting in $8,300 benefitting local citizens.
Finally, one of our major calls to action, volunteering. Mobilizing more than 500 volunteers, we were able to increase our physical efforts in giving back at a tune of $126,718. While the number is impressive, this includes over 50 special projects, and more than 4,300 hours of activity-- anywhere from stuffing campaign mailings to donating time to rebuild an agency building.
As you can see, our campaign is what keeps doors open throughout our county and allows quality programs to help those who desperately need it. By joining the movement, you have allowed Story County to inch closer to half a billion in support and impact. As always, United Way of Story County will continue fighting for the health, education, and financial stability of everyone in our community. Because in order to live better, we must LIVE UNITED.