Willie Braudaway

Willie Braudaway

Did you know that the old line “I gave at the office” used by those who want to escape an appeal for funds actually refers to the United Way? Unfortunately, that negative connotation reflects the fact that the person using that excuse probably didn’t give at the office at all.

Way back in 1887, “a Denver woman, a priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. (So they) put their heads together to plan the first united campaign for 10 health and welfare agencies. They created an organization to serve as an agent to collect funds for local charities … that year Denver raised $21,700 (worth over $585,000 in today’s currency) and created a movement that would … become the United Way.” (https://www.unitedway.org/about/history)

Diana Valdez is the new Chief Professional Officer of United Way of Val Verde County as of a couple of months ago. As a former United Way CPO, I have been helping her settle into her awesome responsibility. She’s going to do a great job. And she’s jumping in with both feet by “Calling All Community Heroes to LIVE HEROIC at the Kick-Off for the United Way Campaign 2019” Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 5 p.m. at the Texas Community Bank Community Room. I hope lots of folks respond this year by “giving at the office.”

Maintaining a sufficient cash flow is especially hard for volunteer-run organizations. Volunteers are wonderful people who are willing to give their time and talents for a cause. Many who serve on boards are professional people with full-time jobs. Others who are working in the trenches have big hearts but little time or skill for fundraising. Then there are those who have the time, the skills, and/or the talent to offer but then become overwhelmed when others rely on them to do it all.

Another tough part about keeping non-profits afloat is the sense that the only way to get some money is at the expense of another worthy cause – ruthlessly competing for a piece of the pie. It’s an ugly business indeed when one non-profit actually feels it necessary to undermine another just to keep its doors open.

United Way’s theme is LIVE UNITED. Doesn’t that sound like something we’ve been hearing about in Val Verde County and Del Rio lately? When it comes to non-profit agencies that want to positively affect the education, income and health of our community, WE need to work in a united way to help THEM achieve OUR dreams.

Next time you hear someone say, “I gave at the office,” pat that person on the back and congratulate them for LIVING UNITED!

Willie Braudaway strives to make life better as a librarian, genealogist, and member of various community organizations. Contact her at librarywillie@hotmail.com.

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