An Insider's Look into Giving to United Way

At United Way of Story County (UWSC), we believe that when we are United together, we can find solutions that make long-lasting, positive change in the lives of individuals and families, which is why our 2017 LIVE UNITED campaign theme is United Together. Finding Solutions, Changing Lives. We do this because every person in our community has a right to have a good quality of life.
Throughout the campaign season, we have been asking the community to support UWSC with financial contributions that will change lives in Story County. This week, we spoke with one of our donors who has been actively involved with UWSC to ask her why she chooses to contribute to UWSC. 
Yvonne Kinzler, whose family owns Kinzler Construction Services, was approached years ago about creating a company campaign to support UWSC. As advocates for giving back to their community, she and her husband Kevin wanted to encourage philanthropy among their employees. Through learning more about the work of UWSC and our partner agencies, Yvonne realized she was being presented with an easy way to get involved with local giving that impacts where they live and work.
One of the things Yvonne connected with the most was the value UWSC puts on ensuring donations make a real difference in people’s lives. Organizations that want to be a UWSC partner agency need to submit a detailed application and provide an annual review on the success of their programs through the ASSET process. ASSET (Analysis of Social Services Evaluation Team) is a collaboration of funders including UWSC, Central Iowa Community Services, City of Ames, Iowa State Student Government, and Story County. 
In addition to knowing that her giving is being effectively vetted, Yvonne likes to follow her donations with action when possible. She has become involved with UWSC as a mentor for the Women United program and was the 2016 Campaign Chair. 
“Women United helps teach basic personal finance to at-risk women. I have worked with women who had tax debt, had escaped an abusive relationship, or were here from another country and wanted to learn financial responsibility,” Yvonne said. “Together, we have built budgets and financial and educational goals. I have watched these women gain confidence, get jobs, and start college classes on the Women United scholarship. I have gained insights and developed friends.”
Aside from her work as a mentor, Yvonne and her family have seen the value of having a strong United Way presence in the community through personal experience. Her daughter, Lacey, was born with Rett Syndrome and is unable to walk, talk, or use her hands purposefully, which requires her to have 24/7 care. When she was young, there were no summer or respite care options for kids with special needs. Yvonne, Kevin, and other parents worked together to create what is now known as ChildServe in Ames.
As she grew into her adult years, Lacey needed a home where they could give care for medically fragile young adults. At the time, a nursing home was the only option. After years of meetings and discussions with the county and state, they decided to find a provider that could own the home and run it throughout the lifespan of persons living with disabilities. They chose Mainstream Living, Inc., where Lacey lives happily in a house with four friends. Both ChildServe and Mainstream Living, Inc. are partner agencies of UWSC.
In giving to United Way, Yvonne has confidence that her gift will impact the community and be used as intended.
“We are blessed with so much more than our ‘daily bread’ and have the desire to share our gifts,” Yvonne said. “My family made the decision to give a few larger gifts and say ‘no’ to a lot of small ones. Giving to United Way of Story County makes a gift to our community that is only granted after careful vetting to important agencies in our community that I would not otherwise impact.”
With your support, UWSC can continue to fight for the education, income, and health of every person in our community. To learn more about UWSC’s funding in local programs, visit or call (515) 268-5142.
[Photo: Yvonne Kinzler, United Way of Story County donor]
United Way of Story County is a strategic leader in building countywide partnerships to identify needs and to develop, support and evaluate effective human services, especially in the areas of education, income and health, for our diverse community.