Middlesex United Way: Community partners mean donations stay local

After this whirlwind week, I feel the need to take a moment to simply express how proud we are of the work our community is doing, and what a bright future we have ahead of us. We have just kicked off this year’s campaign, and our four co-chairs are more than motivated to share the work we do every day with others. So, in the spirit of this campaign’s start, let me take a moment to share with you all what Middlesex United Way is all about.

We are community partners. We tackle the sources — not just the symptoms — of Middlesex County’s biggest challenges. We support 38 of the most capable local organizations achieving measurable impact in the areas of education, income, health and housing. United Way envisions a community where individuals and families have safe and affordable housing, students can succeed academically, individuals and families are economically stable, individuals and families are healthy and safe, and youth and adults are given the tools to help avoid risky behaviors.

We truly care about Middlesex County. Each year, we campaign to raise funds, and strategically disburse them to the most capable and local organizations in need. Last year, our nonprofit partners used our funding to obtain $844,301 in additional funds. This means that every dollar given last year doubled in return, leading to an even greater impact.

We are a local organization serving all of Middlesex County. We utilize the talents of local volunteers to help us make local decisions that benefit local people, resulting in local successes. A local board governs us, and decisions are made by volunteer committees composed of people who live and work in Middlesex County. You may think that is a lot of “locals,” and if you do, then our point was achieved. When you give to Middlesex United Way, you are helping to create change right in your own backyard.

You may be wondering where do you fit in in all of this. If you have been following along on our weekly column, you have likely read “United Starts with You.” We know that you care about your neighbors and that Middlesex County is often where we work and live, and we understand that you want to help — that you have causes and issues that you care about.

United Starts with You is more than just a catch phrase — it is our call to action. It is an invitation for each of us to be part of something greater than ourselves. And it’s the idea that if we all turn our passions into action and take the first step toward giving back, we can have an even greater impact on our community.

There are several ways that you can get involved, both on a large and small scale. Many workplaces in the county host workplace campaigns, designed to increase employee engagement and often award minor benefits or prizes to employees who donate, whether via a one-time donation or automatic payroll deductions.

We are always appreciative of more volunteers, and even have a volunteer match on our website that will pair you with a cause that fits your goals. If these ideas intrigue you, or you wish to hear more about ways to get involved, please reach out to us by contacting Maria Wood at maria.wood@middlesexunitedway.org or by calling 860-346-8695.

Kevin Wilhelm is president and CEO of the Middlesex United Way in Middletown.