Featured Endowment Partner: United Way of the Ozarks

The United Way of the Ozarks mission is to increase understanding of human needs and mobilizing resources to meet those needs. Through fundraising efforts, the United Way gives individuals an opportunity to learn to read, shelter the homeless, give families help in violent situations, assist people after disaster or illness, and provide hope for those in need. The United Way also assists other nonprofit organizations by assisting with start-up expenses, special projects, and other events that may require additional funding.

The United Way is often the frontrunner organization when a community problem needs addressed and an action plan is required. This organization also assists in allocating resources to meet needs in the Ozarks community through an annual fundraising campaign.

Quite aptly put, United Way is “in the business of helping people.”

This year the United Way is working to raise $3.6 million for local causes in their 2006-2007 campaign. This fundraising number is reached through analysis by a group of volunteers who determine need for the entire fiscal year.

“We stress the whole process of setting the number. It’s not a number out of the sky, but a comprehensive story of what funds we will need,” Vice President Nancy Fazzino said. “We are accountable for all of these funds every year.” After the number is determined, the ‘thermometers’ placed at local businesses and nonprofits go up throughout the Ozarks, and the ‘temperature’ begins to rise. This year’s annual goal is a 2.8% increase upon the goal last year, and the organization looks forward to using all funds to better the local community.

United Way of the Ozarks also leads several events including the Day of Caring. On the Day of Caring, many volunteers are sought out and used by nonprofits throughout the Ozarks for one day of work on nonprofit projects that need additional labor assistance.

“Many United Way organizations have a Day of Caring, but few are as successful as they are here in the Ozarks,” Fazzino said.

Day of Caring 2006 involved 1500 volunteers logging 11,200 hours in a single day for nonprofit organizations in the Ozarks. This resulted in a value of $60,000 in labor based on the minimum wage. “People just wait with baited breath to be involved in this volunteer day,” Marketing and Communications Director Susan Jackson said. “People called me in February about our day in August.”

United Way of the Ozarks also has a foundation designed with the purpose of assisting donors in their gifts of living trusts, memorials, and other methods of giving that assist the United Way of the Ozarks’ missions in the community.

To access the United Way of the Ozarks’ website, please visit http://www.uwozarks.com.