On March 4, with over 100 community leaders in attendance United Way of St. Joseph County hosted their Annual Meeting at the Gillespie Center. The public meeting was a time for United Way to acknowledge outgoing board members, discuss a new Community Impact Plan, and share the news of a new community project.
Vice President of Community Impact Sheri Robertson and Vice President of Mission Advancement Lauren Smyth began the meeting by recognizing executive board members – Jim Frain, Judy Fox, Mark Minne, Aaron Perri, Randy Rompola, and Chris Strafford – who have completed their term on the board. “It was so nice to be able to recognize these members as they have put a lot of time and talent into United Way. Our board members’ passion, commitment, and outstanding leadership are key to the strides and impact United Way continues to make in the community,” said Robertson.
President & CEO Laura Jensen continued the meeting with a review of the 2019 – 2022 Community Impact Plan. The new plan highlights the same collective impact strategy however, partners can expect to find new changes when it comes to program requirements. The plan also identifies four categories of focus– Early Learning, Youth Success, Stable Families, and Critical Needs. One of the highlights to the new Community Impact Plan is VisionLink; a platform which allows agency partners to input and access shared community information in order to coordinate care, maximize resources, measure impact, and engage partners in one shared resource.
The final topic of the agenda was the announcement of a new community project. Jensen shared the need and community support for an “Under One-Roof” model Neighborhood Center. “The center will be anchored by a high quality early childhood program serving children from infancy through 12 years old, as well as hosting additional services to allow individuals and families to access resources while giving agency partners opportunities to build capacity.” The Southeast neighborhood where the center will stand, has been identified as a childcare desert and a health professional shortage area. “However, with the strong community assets surrounding the area and partnerships with groups who are invested in this community, this neighborhood center has an opportunity to foster positive change and create new opportunities for children and families,” said Jensen. A matching grant of $250,000 was also announced as a kickoff to the Capital Campaign. “We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm we are receiving for this project, and we cannot wait to partner with local leaders to invest in our community and watch the trajectory of people’s lives change,” says Jensen.
To view the presentation from the meeting and the new Community Impact Plan follow the links below.