At United Way of Story County, we are committed to serve every person in our community through health, education, and financial stability, the building blocks necessary to achieve a good quality of life. To meet this standard, we have formed several collaborations to address common needs. United Way teams with community partners to assess needs, plan, and act. By pooling the input, talent and effort of service minded contributors we have established a Hunger Collaboration, Transportation Collaboration, Food Pantry Collaboration, and an Emergency Basic Service Provider Group.
Given the extraordinary challenges of recent months, we recognize that reevaluation of where the most immediate needs are within the community is necessary. Our Collaborations meet routinely to determine how they can adjust to serve most effectively. Working with the school districts to promote Grab and Go meals provided to kids over the summer and the creation of an Immigrant Coalition to help those that were not eligible to receive supports through the CARES Act are just two examples of initiatives created to meet the new challenges many are facing.
In addressing problems, we know that all voices are needed at the table in order to achieve the best results. Current national events remind us of the importance of United Way’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement which reads in part: “To value diversity is to respect and appreciate race, religion, skin color, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical abilities, age, parental status, and the perspectives of each individual shaped by their nation and experience.”
We recognize that there is disparity within the community and realize that when voices are not present it can be difficult to see where need truly lies. We want to hear from those that have not always been heard. To start we have formed an Equity Committee to amplify the conversation, evaluate our own practices to better identify need and seek solutions. We need ALL potential partners, donors, volunteers, and staff on board.
Even though our reality is very different than it was just a few months ago our mission has not changed. We are here to support each person in Story County through existing collaborations and look forward to what we can all create together to meet the needs of the community going forward.