The Chippewa Valley Post provides news of area nonprofit organizations in order to increase public awareness of their missions and activities, and to provide information that otherwise might not be made available.
Our “6 of Substance” series is part of this effort. It presents answers from area nonprofit organizations, in their own words, to six questions about who they are and what they do. The responses are edited only for length, grammar and style concerns.
This series will be updated regularly to introduce Chippewa Valley residents to the many nonprofit organizations and people working to serve the needs of our area. If you have a favorite nonprofit organization that you’d like to see featured here, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley
Who do you serve?
United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley (UWGCV) serves the communities in Chippewa and Eau Claire counties. Our mission is to provide active leadership by bringing resources together to improve lives and create stronger communities. We do this by mobilizing the caring spirit of the Chippewa Valley to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community. By working together with collaborative partners across all sectors, UWGCV has established initiatives to remove barriers to a good quality of life. Our focus areas are: early childhood development to ensure school readiness; financial literacy and skills training to promote financial stability; mental and physical well-being to provide the best opportunities for health and wellness; and supporting basic needs for those who face immediate crisis. UWGCV currently invests in and works with over 40 programs provided by 26 program partners.
How long have you been established in the Chippewa Valley?
United Way has served Chippewa and Eau Claire counties for over 50 years.
What are the major issues you will be facing over the next 18 months?
Like so many nonprofits, we face the on-going challenge of declining revenue, due to many factors. As an organization that funds many other programs facing the same revenue challenge, this issue is magnified. In our last grant cycle, organizations requested $3.2 million from us at a time when we had $1.6 million available to allocate.
Our second biggest challenge is in identifying and establishing the best model for outcomes reporting. It is extremely important that the data we collect can be used to identify where and how we are having the most success and are actually making a difference in dealing with key community issues.
Our over-arching challenge is the detrimental effect that poverty and financial instability have on the community’s overall health and well-being. They can severely impede early childhood development, restrict or inhibit employment, and seriously affect physical and mental health. Our mission continues to be identifying these issues’ underlying causes and applying strategic plans to address them.
Aside from financial support, how can the Chippewa Valley Community support you?
Volunteer to support our workplace campaign. Become an Account Executive and be a liaison between United Way and companies that run a United Way campaign, or be an Employee Campaign Coordinator at your workplace. If your place of work doesn’t run a campaign, ask your employer or management about starting one.
Join the United Way Emerging Leaders Society. This is a young professionals volunteer group, but all ages are welcome!
Get on our contact list. Visit www.uwgcv.org and sign up for notifications and our newsletter, to stay informed of upcoming volunteer activities like Day of Caring, Community Block Party and Stamp Out Hunger. You’ll also stay aware of what United Way and its program partners are doing and be informed about key community issues and how programs are addressing them.
Who are some of the key people in your organization?
United Way Executive Director Jan Porath has been with United Way for nearly 10 years, and has served as executive director since 2011. Jan also serves on multiple community action committees.
UWGCV is governed by a 16-member board of directors, currently chaired by Karen Hebert, group benefits broker at Spectrum Insurance Group. The 2017 United Way Campaign Chair is Jan Hook, retired from Scheels, and the 2018 Campaign Chair is Zach Schmidtknecht, VP and general manager at Great Northern Corporation. United Way has a three-person community impact team that oversees programming and initiatives, a two-person resource development team, a finance director, a marketing and communications person, and an office administrator.
What is the most important thing about your organization that people should know, but don’t?
United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley, although affiliated with United Way Worldwide, is 100% locally managed, and over 98 cents of every dollar raised stays in the local community. More than 85% of those dollars go to programming that supports our community.
We are also embedded in efforts to address root causes of key issues affecting our community. We strive to be both a community resource and a community facilitator, and to bring the public, private and nonprofit sectors together to support and enact change. This includes recruiting almost 1,500 volunteers annually for service to our community.
— by James Peters, Director of Marketing
If you would like more information about United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley, visit www.uwgcv.org.
To see earlier “6 of Substance” listings, click here for the Archives.
To download a copy of the “6 of Substance” questionnaire, click here.
Note: James Peters is also a member of the CVPost board.