Blog Home > Archive (May, 2017)

Donating my time to organizations was a huge part of my time at Southeast Missouri State. In fact, over the course of four years I probably volunteered at more than half of United Way’s partner agencies! There’s always something going on with our funded partners, and we do our best to update you all with their volunteer opportunities every month in our newsletter.

While I love promoting our partner programs and the incredible work they do, I’ve recently realized we’ve been neglecting our own volunteer opportunities. Did you know United Way of Southeast Missouri has 4 different committees you can serve on? That’s right, 4 unique and hands-on opportunities for you to get involved.

The best part? We’re seeking new volunteers for these committees right now!

Do you have an eye for videography? Or perhaps you know the best way to get your ad to stand out in the paper? Well, our Marketing Committee is the place for you to be!  This group meets once a month to strategize and execute the campaign advertisement plans for the year. In addition to the big drive, the group focuses on our Giving Tuesday and Give from the Heart plans alongside the resource development committee.

If you aren’t tapped into your creative side and prefer to crunch numbers, then you may be interested in joining our Finance Committee. This crew typically meets once every quarter, with the occasional extra meeting or two during budget season. They’re responsible for mapping out our expenses for the year and ensuring we stay within, or even under, our budget.

Our Community Investment Committee is a huge part of our United Way family. This is the group responsible for keeping track of where our allocable dollars are going and that our funded partners are utilizing their investments in the way they were promised. Every three years this group puts in the extra work to vet agencies applying for United Way funding. If you’re passionate about the impact United Way is making in the community, this is the committee for you!

Of course, we couldn’t make the difference we do without our network of businesses and investors who fund our organization. The Resource Development Committee meets monthly to identify and pursue new accounts and stakeholders for the annual campaign. This group hits the ground running and is instrumental in helping the United Way staff meet our financial goals for the year.

As our fiscal year winds down and we begin to gear up for the next campaign, it’s the perfect time for you to get involved! If one of the opportunities above sounds like something you want to be a part of, contact Kristin in our office to learn more information and sign up! 

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So far, United Way of Southeast Missouri has collected $76,000 for the people in Perryville impacted by the February tornado. Many people have asked how the funds are being distributed, and we are eager for our donors to know exactly how their dollars are being managed.

UWSEMO is one of many organizations represented on a Long-Term Recovery Committee (LTRC). Other members include The Salvation Army, The American Red Cross, First Call for Help, 211, the Perryville Community Foundation, Catholic Charities, and more.

A social worker from the Perryville community is meeting with each of the 58 families impacted to identify their needs and ability to meet them. Many families were well insured and, once their immediate needs were met, they are able to rebuild without needing much in the way of financial assistance. For those families and individuals who need additional help, the case manager brings the unmet needs to the LTRC, where we discuss which organization can help with each unmet need. Some are able to provide donated items, such as clothing, housewares and furniture; others, like UWSEMO, are able to provide funds.

Being involved in this committee is eye opening. There are so many details that must be managed, including responsible management of donations over a long period of time. With only 58 families registering with the case worker, the LTRC must be especially diligent in ensuring we are meeting needs and not carelessly dispensing funds.  I was surprised to learn funds from the Joplin LTRC still are being distributed five years after that community was devastated. Rebuilding takes time, and it does not apply only to physical needs. Children are especially traumatized following an event of this proportion, and we may identify emotional help that should be provided now and into the future.

Helping Perryville rebuild physically and emotionally will be a long process. Fortunately, United Way is a long-standing organization familiar with the patience and diligence needed to help families and individuals rebuild. Creating lasting change is what we do, even when the change is unplanned and unexpected. We and the people of Perryville remain incredibly grateful to our generous donors and volunteers. Thank you.

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If you missed our Community Celebration held April 13th, you missed the ceremonial closing of our 2016 community drive, which officially ends with our fiscal year, June 30. More importantly, we didn’t get to thank you along with many of our treasured volunteers, corporate investors, and area businesses that played a big role in helping us make a difference in the four counties we serve.

In years past United Way of Southeast Missouri (UWSEMO) and others in our network have focused on the amount of funds collected. While this is imperative to the work we do, we and many other nonprofits are choosing to communicate more about the impact we are able to make with those funds. Naturally, donors want to know just how their donations are helping, and we are excited to share the news!

Organizational goals for fiscal year 2016-17 included expanding our impact in other areas outside of our Cape Girardeau headquarters. Our Community Investment Committee chose several ways to support this goal:

  • Increase funding to the Boys and Girls Club to launch an after-school program in Scott City, which opened in January
  • Invest in a new 4-H leadership program in Scott County that provides career prep to junior and senior high school students
  • Support a food pantry in Bollinger County that helps an average of 40 families a month.

We also created awareness of need and the organizations that help meet community need through United Days of Caring. This event (UDOC) kicked off our community drive with a weekend of projects in every county we serve. They included building Habitat homes, helping women’s shelters, constructing Little Free Libraries, and collecting various supplies for families and students.

Team United Goals included an internal focus on strengthening relationships in Cape and beyond. We welcomed two new Jackson businesses to our list of workplace campaigns, Pepsi Mid-America and Liberty Utilities. We became regular members at meetings of ABCToday, a program of Big Brothers, Big Sisters implemented in all Cape Girardeau Public Schools. The first in the country to be district-wide, the program tracks the progress of every child in Attendance, Behavior and Coursework (ABC) and gives extra help to those not meeting the goal.

We also became members of the Perryville Chamber. At the time we had no idea how important this would become when the February tornado rocked this community. Because we already had established connections through our student fund in the schools and our Chamber membership, we were able to quickly establish an emergency fund that has netted over $67,000 with every dollar being returned to the recovering Perryville families. (For more about how these investments are determined, please see this month’s blog.)

These are just a few of the accomplishments we are proud to report, especially when 2/3 of our team members haven’t even been here a year! We couldn’t do it without the help and support of so many volunteers and donors. Thank you for helping us to strengthen our community!

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