This week’s Member Spotlight is on United Way Worldwide, a privately funded nonprofit.  The United Way network is made up of nearly 1,800 autonomous 501c3 organizations, each governed and funded locally. The network spans more than 40 countries and territories and 6 continents. It serves 61 million people across the globe, fueled by 2.9 million volunteers and 8.3 million donors.

The United Way concept was founded in Denver, Colorado in 1887 when several area men put together an idea that became the nation’s first united campaign, benefiting 10 area health and welfare agencies. They created an organization to collect the funds for local charities, to coordinate relief services, to counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and to make emergency assistance grants for cases that could not be referred. That year, Denver raised $21,700 for this greater good, and created a movement that would become United Way. United Way of South-Central Oklahoma was established in 1971 as United Fund of Ardmore, then later in 1990 it evolved into United Way of South-Central Oklahoma.

United Way of South-Central Oklahoma is a voluntary, non-profit organization, which emphasizes broad citizen involvement and seeks to provide financial, volunteer and professional resources to effectively and efficiently meet human needs in our five county communities. United Way exists because of the spirit of volunteerism.  The organization is comprised of five counties – Marshall, Murray, Johnston, Carter and Love.  Hundreds of volunteers representing our communities give their time to raise funds for United Way agency services, plan to meet changing community needs, and coordinate collaborative community services that will improve the quality of lives in South-Central Oklahoma.  How we feel about our work, how we perform our tasks and how we interact with people influence the public’s feeling toward United Way.  United Way’s job of assisting volunteers, agencies and helping meet human and health needs is important and worthwhile.

Staff consists of the Executive Director and Administrative Assistant and the Board of Directors has 15 volunteers that serve their time. Most of United Way’s board members, allocation committee, executive director and staff serve on other boards or volunteer in some capacity throughout the communities.  All are dedicated and driven to seeing our communities succeed and prosper. In 2018-19, approximately 121,278 persons were served by our partner agencies in all five counties in addition to 94,363 service hours given.

United Way continues to have more and more agencies apply for assistance every year, so the need continues to be present throughout our communities.  The hope is that they can get the word out so that more and more community partners want to join the team.  With these partnerships they can advance the common good and create opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on education, income and health.  They encourage everyone to get involved through giving, advocation or volunteering.

The 2020 Campaign Kick Off is Monday September 14, 2020 and runs through November 20, 2020.  During this time their 37 partner agencies will be hosting many fundraising events.  United Way would like to encourage everyone to refer to their website, follow them on twitter, and like them on Facebook to find out details as they come in on all the fun activities you could be a part of.

If anyone would like to donate to United Way of South-Central Oklahoma, become a community partner or has questions regarding UWoSCO please contact Daela Echols, Executive Director at 580-223-1401 or daela@uwsco.org.

-Jordyn Frazier, Executive Director, JCCC

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