United Way of St. Joseph County President’s Report

To mobilize the community to collectively reduce poverty.

We are so grateful for our donors, community partners, volunteers and staff. You are our BEST ambassadors for our critically important mission.

We do what we do because, together, we share a challenging vision for lasting change in our community. Collectively, we view our community with eyes that span a wide horizon. We acknowledge our accomplishments and acknowledge that so much is possible—and essential—together. With our ultimate goal of connecting people with resources, we identify and fill the gaps, creating synergy. Thus, the time and talents from each of us propel us forward to a better place. Imagine a community without the tremendous investment from so many of us—for so long. Indeed, we are fortunate.

In our roles as donors, partners, volunteers and staff, we respect those who have come before us; they paved the way for today. We are here for those who will follow us; we must carve the path for their future. We recognize all that has transpired for the children and families through and because of United Way.

Your United Way stands on the brink of our 100th anniversary in 2014. We were the first United Way in the state of Indiana. We were the first United Way to embrace a woman, Ernestine Raclin, as a campaign chair. Ernie was the first women to serve in that capacity in America and also the first woman to serve on the United Way of America Board of Governors. Your United Way has delivered hundreds of visionary community leaders! They have served in good and not-so-good times. They served through crises in the world, our country and our community. They provided leadership despite wars, economic depressions and disasters. Why? Because that's what we do! We stand closely together—for and because of one another.

Throughout our 100 years, the United Way mission has been consistent and distinctive; we care about the well-being of every child, every family, every man and woman. Our strategies, of course, must change with the times in response to a changing environment. Because United Way must always forge ahead; we must never stand still in the midst of change. We forge ahead as we hear diverse stories of the 150,000 children and families served each year through United Way programs and services. We forge ahead –together—because community problems and societal challenges are becoming more complex to understand and resolve than ever before. We forge ahead because these issues require serious solution and serious collective action with laser-like focus and investment in results.

Today, nearly 100 years later, we are immersed in more change. We are experiencing a transformation of our economic structure, corporate base and communication strategies. Today, in the millisecond of a click, we are transported around the globe. So, we seek to remain and become more relevant in the midst of trillions of not-for-profit organizations in the world---and in the midst of 3000 nor-for-profit organizations in our county alone! We seek to keep ahead of the curve by facilitating cutting edge programs and services. We seek to find new ways to do business while respecting the legacy of the past and welcoming innovative ideas for the future. Still, together, we mobilize the caring power of community. For, if not us, who? If not now, when?

You—our donors, partners, volunteers and staff—are our strength and wisdom. We tackle the same and new problems as one---as "we", not as "me".

You are our strength and wisdom to guide our investments in sustainable community change.

You are our strength and wisdom to embrace the future collectively with a shared vision of what can be.

Your United Way is grateful for you, our best ambassadors. Our road is not easy. Our work is not easy. Sometimes, even working together is not so easy!

But, because of you, we stand on the brink of a very significant milestone in our history. You are the foundation for our United Way; you are the true spirit of philanthropy and service. Thank you for answering our call—yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Remember, (according to Ted Hughes) "the only thing people (really) regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, didn't invest enough heart and didn't love enough. Nothing else really counts."

Please continue to live, invest and love our community together---the United Way. Thank you.

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