What does a Reimagined community look like? On Tuesday, September 22, United Way of Monroe County kicked-off the Reimagine fall fundraising drive with a live virtual event. Attendees were invited to share their single biggest hope for the months and years ahead as the community has the opportunity to Reimagine a better normal as it rebuilds from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even before the pandemic, 1 in 5 households in Monroe County was in full-blown poverty while a full third of families teetered dangerously above the poverty line. Families facing this reality struggle to live beyond paycheck-to-paycheck, with little savings for emergencies, so one unexpected home repair or health crisis can send them spiraling.
When the pandemic hit in March, United Way and its partners had to pivot quickly to adapt to the emerging needs of families in our community. COVID has made visible the areas in the community that need strengthened, and it is inspiring United Way and its partners to reimagine a better normal, rather than returning to the normal that was not working for everyone.
Efrat Feferman, United Way of Monroe County Executive Director, invited a reflection, "Join us in Reimagining a better normal for our community. Can we imagine a normal where every homeless individual has a safe space to sleep at night, without fear of risks to their health? Can we imagine a new normal where food is always available to any family in need, and a neighbor may help deliver it to a homebound individual?”
She continued, "Can we imagine a new normal where anyone struggling with anxiety or depression could afford counseling, and do so from home, as they have the necessary technology? How about a normal where every child has good mentors in their life, and healthy attachments with their caregivers? Can we imagine a new normal where access to justice and to opportunities is equal and equitable? Where the entire community joins together to respond in full force to emerging needs?”
Support for Reimagine 2020 will help assure the community is shaped with these ideals as the vision and the reality. Investments in partnerships and programs in the next three years will be driven by a resiliency framework developed by United Way’s Community Investment Committee and Board of Directors.
The resiliency framework will strengthen individuals through targeted investments in trauma-informed initiatives and approaches to prevention and intervention, mentoring, parenting supports, and conflict resolution skill-building. It will promote social connections and community resiliency by supporting mental health initiatives, peer support groups, issue-based coalitions, and more. And it will invest heavily in the resiliency of the community’s safety net, so that families have their most basic needs of food, shelter, childcare, transportation, and healthcare met.
This year, supporting United Way helps to Reimagine a future that works for everyone by embracing big ideas, big solutions. United Way works to empower people and create a resilient community, and the big work starts now.
The fall fundraising drive is a critical part of the United Way outreach, which continues year-round especially in times of disaster or deep need. Funds raised during this time touch the lives of one in three individuals in the community.
Last year, more than $1.2 million was raised during the United Way fall fundraising drive to help meet the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. This year, the outreach is more vital than ever as many families face greater challenges caused by the pandemic, the economic downturn, and the ripple effects in the months and years ahead. Never has it been more important to work united to face community challenges.
Donations can be made online at monroeunitedway.org or by texting Reimagine2020 to 41444.
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