Executive Director Comments on United Way Coverage

April 13, 2018

Executive Director Ann Gaasch was published last week in the Star Tribune, commenting on coverage of Greater Twin Cities United Way:

As a longtime donor to Greater Twin Cities United Way and an employee of a United Way-funded agency, I’m saddened by recent coverage (“Charities scramble as United Way wanes,” April 1). I believe there are pieces to the conversation that are missing:

• Poverty is complex. Donors want to give directly to an organization, but those individual efforts do not have the impact that a shared approach to ending poverty has. I’ve seen families leave poverty who have benefited from many United Way-funded services that, together, provided wraparound or holistic support.

• Minnesota has some of the worst disparities. United Way builds equity by providing funding and capacity-building support to nonprofits serving culturally diverse communities. These nonprofits are rigorously evaluated before selection and during funding. United Way still services a role in vetting nonprofits.

• Human services are dependent on complicated funding. Organizations piece together revenue from varied sources and the uncertainty has a cost. The importance of the multiyear grants United Way makes cannot be undervalued. United Way brings stability and consistency, allowing us to focus on helping individuals with long-term solutions.

• Individual donors are important as government and foundation support changes. However, individual funding is uncertain, fluctuating as giving patterns and interests change. United Way absorbs the uncertainty, combining the funding so that organizations have consistency.

• United Way plays a vital role promoting its nonprofit partners, providing expertise, advocacy support, visibility, volunteers and board members.

I hope United Way’s full story is highlighted, not just its challenges. Through United Way support, 19,400-plus children were ready for school with access to foundational reading skills last year.

Ann Gaasch, Minneapolis

Infographic credit.

Full coverage can be found here.

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