Search for Help
YONKERS, N.Y. (April 2013)– Volunteers from the Yonkers Federation of Teachers (YFT) and other unions affiliated with the Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body AFL CIO will join United Way at Tibbetts Brook Park 8:30 a.m. Saturday, April 27 to build the city’s first Born Learning Trail for children.
Developed by United Way of Westchester and Putnam, Born Learning is designed for kids ages 1 to 6 and their parents or caregivers. Ten colorful signs on posts encourage families to look at the world around them and play various games as they walk along the path. The goal is to get preschoolers thinking and talking, and to get adults to interact with their little ones.
Thanks to YFT funding, the Tibbetts trail will be adjacent to the bathhouse in the playground area.
“The Yonkers Federation of Teachers is proud to support the creation of the Born Learning Trail, both with volunteers and funding,” said YFT President Pat Puleo. “We strive to serve our students and the community by providing learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom.”
Teams of volunteers dig the holes, pour the cement and plan the landscaping that makes a Born Learning Trail so attractive and memorable. Trails at Kensico Dam in Valhalla and at Sycamore Park in Mahopac were built by volunteers from PepsiCo and Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics.
In addition, United Way provides Born Learning educational materials at various daycare centers, libraries, nonprofit organizations and companies.
“Born Learning is a fun and effective way to enhance a child’s ability to learn, think and interact with others,” said Naomi Adler, CEO, United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “Too many kids start school without some key, basic learning skills. United Way is here to help with Born Learning and other great initiatives.”
For more information, please contact Peter West at 914-997-6700, ext. 732, or email@example.com. You can also visit www.uwwp.org/bornlearning.
About United Way of Westchester and Putnam
United Way operates with the fundamental belief that all people deserve a quality education, enough income to support a family, and opportunities for a healthy lifestyle. The not-for-profit organization works with agency partners, government, businesses and community leaders to solve problems that are too complex for any one entity alone.
All contributions go toward improving the education, income, and health of the children, youth and families throughout Westchester and Putnam. United Way’s Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1 call center and website, covering Westchester and Putnam as well as Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties, answer inquiries ranging from tax, heating and mortgage questions to childcare, basic needs, natural disaster and crisis calls.
United Way of Westchester and Putnam is located at 336 Central Park Ave., White Plains, NY 10606. They can be reached at 914-997-6700 or by visiting www.uwwp.org. Follow the United Way on Facebook (www.facebook.com/UnitedWayWP) and Twitter (@UnitedWayWP) for the latest news and updates.
About the Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body AFL CIO
As the voice of working people in the local community, the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council is the heart of the labor movement. By uniting the local community, the council plays a critical role on local, state and national issues. Central labor councils are also involved in political and community action. The Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body AFL CIO (WPCLB) represents over 120,000 union members and their families in both Westchester and Putnam Counties. For more information, please contact WPCLB President Paul Ryan, IBEW #3, at (914) 948-3800 or visit http://www.wpclb.org .
Author Seth Godin and Human Rights Advocate Ilir Zherka Announced as
Keynote Speakers for Annual Summit
11th annual Not-For-Profit Leadership Summit to attract a sold-out crowd of more than 700
Westchester County, N.Y. (April, 2013) – The United Way of Westchester and Putnam in partnership with the Westchester Community Foundation present the Not-For-Profit Leadership Summit XI on Monday, May 6, 2013. This year’s event, held from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel Tarrytown, features keynote speakers author Seth Godin and Human Rights Advocate Ilir Zherka.
Seth Godin has been hailed as "America's Greatest Marketer" and his blog, found at www.sethgodin.com, is perhaps the most popular in the world written by a single individual. He has written 14 best-selling books published in thirty languages, ranging in topics from the post-industrial revolution to the way ideas spread, as well as marketing, leadership and most of all, “changing everything.”
Ilir Zherka is a life-long advocate of human rights and civic engagement. Zherka recently joined the National Conference on Citizenship as Executive Director and for the previous ten years, he was the Executive Director of DC Vote. At DC Vote, Zherka organized a coalition of 100 nonprofit advocacy organizations to promote civic participation in the nation’s capital. Zherka has taught emerging leaders at Georgetown University and as an associate with the Human Systems Dynamics Institute. He is also the author of Winning the Inside Game: the Handbook of Advocacy Strategies.
“Seth Godin and IIir Zherka are dynamic, inspiring national leaders and we are thrilled they are part of this year’s Summit,” said Naomi Adler, CEO and president of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “I have no doubt they will help inspire the leaders of our local nonprofits to accomplish even greater things right here in Westchester.”
After breakfast, attendees will be able to choose from sixteen breakout sessions on topics such as strategic planning, profitable fundraising techniques, skills-based volunteerism, social media in the workplace, social entrepreneurship, disaster risk management and board strategies, among others.
"Historically, nonprofits experience a recession sooner and come out of it later than for-profit businesses. Despite a somewhat brighter economic picture in 2013, local nonprofit agencies continue to struggle to provide Westchester's communities with the services they need while facing reduced private donations and shrinking government support," said Catherine Marsh, Executive Director of the Westchester Community Foundation. "The Summit offers current information and best practices from industry experts for a landscape that is constantly facing new challenges."
The Leadership Summit is underwritten in part by the TD Charitable Foundation. Gold sponsorship is provided by ConEdison and the afternoon reception is sponsored by Rollins Insurance. Other sponsors include BDO, Chase, Council Services Plus, Association of Development Officers, Fordham University – Westchester Campus, Mutual of America, Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, Helene & Grant Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University, US Alliance Federal Credit Union and ARC of Westchester.
There is a $30 non-refundable event fee for a nonprofit’s initial reservation. Each additional participant from the same organization is $20. Walk-in registration is $35, space permitting. Sponsorships and vendor tables are also available. The Doubletree Hotel Tarrytown is located at 455 S. Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591. For more information, please call the Summit Hotline at 914-997-6700 x704. To learn about sponsorships, becoming a presenter, and early registration, please visit
About the Westchester Community Foundation
The Westchester Community Foundation (WCF) is a nonprofit community endowment for the benefit of Westchester County. Its mission is to develop and manage philanthropic resources, and to distribute them in a way that is responsive to donor interests and community needs. The Foundation actively promotes charitable giving on behalf of the area’s nonprofit organizations. WCF is a division of The New York Community Trust, one of the largest community foundations in the country with assets of approximately $1.8 billion.
About the United Way of Westchester and Putnam
For the past 50 years, United Way of Westchester and Putnam has operated with the fundamental belief that all people deserve a quality education, enough income to support a family, and opportunities for a healthy lifestyle. United Way works with agency partners, government, businesses and community leaders to solve problems that are too complex for any one entity alone. All contributions go toward improving the education, income, and health of the children, youth and families throughout Westchester and Putnam. United Way’s Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1, covering Westchester and Putnam as well as Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties, answers up to 500 calls and 1,000 online inquiries per day ranging from tax, heating, and mortgage questions to childcare, basic needs, natural disaster and crisis calls. United Way of Westchester and Putnam is at 336 Central Park Ave., White Plains, NY 10606. They can be reached at 914-997-6700 or by visiting www.uwwp.org. Follow United Way on Facebook (www.facebook.com/UnitedWayWP) and Twitter (@UnitedWayWP) for the latest news and updates.
Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation, United Way of Westchester and Putnam
and the Westchester Chapter of the NYS Intergenerational Network (NYSIgN)
Receive America's Best Intergenerational Communities Award
Westchester was selected by MetLife Foundation and Generations United to receive one of four MetLife Foundation/Generations United America's Best Intergenerational Communities Awards. The awards are designed to heighten awareness of the importance intergenerational solidarity plays in building strong, supportive communities.
"We congratulate Westchester for earning this designation. It takes a great deal of effort and forward thinking to create a community where members of every generation want to live," notes Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Representatives from the Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation, United Way of Westchester and Putnam, and the Westchester chapter of NYS Intergenerational Network traveled to Washington D.C. to receive the award, along with representatives of several other nonprofit organizations including JCY- Westchester Community Partners and Groundwork Hudson Valley, both of Yonkers, and four Communities for All Ages initiatives represented by the New Rochelle Council of Community Services, Hudson River Health Care in Peekskill, Community Council of Port Chester, and Family Service Society of Yonkers.
The award confirms the important work that is taking place in Westchester County among more than forty intergenerational programs. Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation and United Way of Westchester and Putnam have played an important role through their unique partnership by launching and funding more than $1.6 million in intergenerational initiatives over the past nine years.
“Bringing people together from across all ages and demographics is the only way we are going to solve our most pressing issues,” says Naomi Adler, CEO and President of United Way of Westchester and Putnam, “This partnership with dozens of nonprofits has made our community stronger and truly aligns with United Way’s motto to ‘LIVE UNITED’”.
Barbara Greenberg of the Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation adds that “A good place to grow up and grow older is a community where people feel like they belong, where they have a sense of purpose and connections with neighbors of all ages. These intergenerational initiatives are helping Westchester become that kind of community."
Working together, all the partners have conveyed the message of how much stronger a community can be when everyone has a voice. Rick Magder, Executive Director of Groundwork Hudson Valley, emphasizes “It’s important to foster bonds and friendships across generations.”
“The children and older adult mentors who participate in SMART create nurturing, lasting relationships” Said Janice Lubin Kirschner of JCY-Westchester Community Partners. “It’s been proven that children’s reading skills improve when an older adult mentor reads with them.”
Many Westchester residents have benefited from these programs. “I really like the Peekskill Community for all Ages because we do fun stuff with kids my age, my mom’s age, and my granddad’s age. At first, it was my mom’s idea for me to work with the team, but now I am part of the team and I look forward to it.” said Malachi McDonald, Fifth-grade Student.
“There are many expectations someone might have for the place where they live, among them are decent schools, clean water, safe roads, police and fire protection….But there is another totally unexpected benefit that I have found here in Yonkers … and that is a profound sense of purpose and connection.” Ms. Dora Mejicovsky, Older Adult in Communities for All Ages.
Other award recipients are the communities of Dunedin, Florida; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Itta Bena, Mississippi. Presentation of this year’s awards took place March 21 at the Cannon House Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. in a ceremony moderated by Juan Williams of Fox News Channel. The Best Intergenerational Communities awards program was made possible through a grant from MetLife Foundation.
Nonprofits across Westchester join together to receive the Best Intergenerational Communities Award in Washington D.C. (First row) Gloria Jordan, Yonkers CFAA; Mathew Melmed, Zero to Three; Janice Kirschner, JCY-Westchester Community Partners; Naomi Adler, United Way of Westchester and Putnam; Susan Schefflein, United Way of Westchester and Putnam; Tuesday McDonald (Peekskill CFAA); Donna Butts, Generations United; Carolyn Fluckinger- Family Service Society of Yonkers; (back row) Roger Osorio, Groundwork Hudson Valley; Daniel Lipka (Port Chester CFAA); Susan Richter, DOROT; Barbara Greenberg, Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation; Juan Williams, Fox News Political Analyst; Rick Magder, Executive Director, Groundwork Hudson Valley
Yonkers Resident Velma Crichton volunteers to read to Felix with JCY-Westchester Community Partners. Funded in part by Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation and United Way of Westchester and Putnam, this intergenerational program helps thousands of kids with reading.
Bronx Resident Peter Mathews volunteers to read to Valerie with JCY-Westchester Community Partners. Funded in part by Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation and United Way of Westchester and Putnam, this intergenerational program helps thousands of kids with reading.
Scott Moore, a God’s Green Market volunteer, helps pack up vegetables after harvest. God’s Green Market in Port Chester invites older and younger volunteers to grow vegetables together and then distribute them to low income residents who don’t get enough fresh produce. Funded in part by Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation and United Way of Westchester and Putnam, this intergenerational program helps people afford to live and eat healthier.
APPLICATIONS SOUGHT FOR RUTH TAYLOR SCHOLARSHIPS
Awards will go to graduate students in social work or public health
April 1, 2013 – White Plains, N.Y. – Westchester County graduate students pursuing careers in social work or public health are invited to apply for scholarship assistance through the Ruth Taylor Award Fund.
The fund was established in tribute to Ruth Taylor upon her retirement as the county’s Commissioner of Public Welfare and in recognition of her nearly four decades of outstanding service. The annual awards are sponsored by United Way of Westchester and Putnam, Westchester County government and the Urban League of Westchester County.
Applicants must be residents of Westchester County and enrolled in graduate studies in Social Work or Public Health on a full-time basis. For the 2013-2014 academic year, awards will range between $1,000 and $5,000 for tuition or maintenance, or both.
The application deadline is Monday, July 8, 2013, by which time all applications and supporting documents must be received.
Financial need, public service and scholastic capacity are part of the evaluation criteria. Recipients must maintain the minimum cumulative university GPA for the duration of the award. Awards are issued annually, and recipients are eligible on a one-time-only basis. A change in major or enrollment status will result in loss of the scholarship award.
Inquiries can be directed to: United Way of Westchester and Putnam, Karen Bonaparte, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or download application and cover letter at www.uwwp.org/rt.
United Way of Westchester and Putnam (uwwp.org) is a local organization that advances the common good by focusing its work in three key areas: quality education that leads to stable jobs; income that can support families through retirement, and good health. Everything United Way does supports these three building blocks for a better life. United Way recruits people and organizations who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done.
Westchester County, N.Y. – (March, 2013) The United Way of Westchester and Putnam has named Chappaqua resident Alyzza C. Ozer Senior Vice President of Resource Development. Ozer, an attorney who specializes in innovative nonprofit fundraising and marketing, brings almost thirty years of crucial experience in both for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Prior to her appointment, Alyzza was the Regional Vice President of the Manhattan office of The American Cancer Society where she led initiatives involving advocacy, family patient services, and fundraising.
Alyzza is proud to be a founding member of Classwish.org, a nonprofit educational website serving as a vehicle to raise money for school supplies K-12 nationally. She has served as an advisor to many nonprofit organizations including start ups such as good2gether, a social media search service bringing together nonprofits, media, and corporations. She serves as treasurer of The Association of Development Officers striving to improve performance of nonprofit professionals and increase community awareness of philanthropy.
In her new role, Ozer will lead the resource development team in implementing an comprehensive strategic plan while strengthening relationships and involvement with longtime supporters and engaging new partners including community members, corporations, foundations, and government agencies.
”I am thrilled to be part of an organization that addresses issues from a holistic perspective focusing on the full spectrum of human needs in our community. United Way is the only local nonprofit organization that cohesively links hundreds of human services providers and brings key business leaders, community members, and partners to the table to hammer out difficult challenges and create solutions every day,” said Ozer.
“This is an amazing chance for me to use my skills to engage my neighbors in working together to create opportunities for better education, income and health right here in my own community,” Ozer stated.
Ozer enjoyed a career in commercial real estate and law holding senior positions with several prestigious real estate firms including serving as Senior Vice President and Director at Jones Lang LaSalle, the largest public, global, commercial real estate firm. A Westchester native,Ozer earned a JD from University of Miami and a BA in Philosophy from Goucer College where she also served as an Urban Planning fellow at Johns Hopkins University. Additionally, Ozer has served on many nonprofit boards and committees including The American Diabetes Association, Variety Children’s Charity, The American Cancer Society, Women in Need, Young Women’s Leadership School, Good2Gether, National Education Association, The New York Bar Association, Forte Foundation.
United Way’s Community Conversations Series Launches
Income Survey after Overwhelming Response in Education
United Way seeks volunteers during its 6-week conversations on income
Westchester County, N.Y. – (March, 2013) – Every four years, United Way of Westchester and Putnam looks to the community to help guide its important work in the areas of education, income, and health through a series of three online Community Conversations surveys. After an impressive response to the education portion, United Way has opened the income survey, focused on financial stability, and is encouraging public participation.
"We are thrilled to report that well over 1,000 people in Westchester and Putnam took part in our first Community Conversations survey on education," said Naomi Adler, United Way of Westchester and Putnam CEO and President. "Early results are in and a task force of experienced volunteers has been activated to look more closely into these survey results and other data."
In the early education survey results a 1-7 ranking questions showed respondents felt “parent's involvement in their child's development and school” was most important for keeping kids on track. Top reasons given for parents not getting involved included “not knowing how to help their children at different age levels,” and “parents working more than one job and have difficulty participating in school activities”. Over half of respondents also said the best way for the community to help its school age children is with more volunteer mentors and tutors.
When asked what is getting worse in early education, 49.6% of survey respondents said they were most concerned about the availability of quality, affordable childcare. At the middle school level, they feel the best ways to help students are by “encouraging the belief that success in school is important”, followed by “getting parents more involved in academic success”, and then “ensuring that students on all learning levels are challenged”.
United Way’s income survey will run now through April 30th. The organization hopes to match the response from the education survey and is encouraging all Westchester and Putnam residents to participate in the income survey with two ways to help: 1) take the survey, and 2) spread the word so that others take the survey. Those interested in getting others involved are welcome to become a Community Conversations Leader, or by simply using United Way’s online resources to share the initiative through social media and email. United Way offers sample emails, graphics, Facebook, and Twitter posts for your personal use here: http://www.uwwp.org/help-promote.shtml.
“The Community Conversation surveys give thousands of people who live or work here a chance to help prioritize top concerns,” said Adler. “Ten minutes of your time can help us make life better in your town. Through the survey results we will know which issues are seen as most critical and will then direct our support through advocacy, volunteerism, and grants.”
An overarching goal of the income initiative is to give Westchester and Putnam families a better road map to get out of debt, find stability, and gain skills in industries prevalent in the region, such as health care. A recent survey from United Way Worldwide found that the cost of living in the United States has increased by nearly 90% in the past twenty years, while the average income has only increased by 25%. Many working families struggle with the limited affordable housing and are unfamiliar with effective ways to budget and reduce debt.
To find out more or to take the income survey, visit www.uwwp.org/cc. Those interested in becoming a volunteer Community Conversations Leader can contact Shannon Cobb at email@example.com or 914-997-6700 x720.
For information about the United Way Community Conversations, contact Susan Schefflein, 914-997-6700 x753 or visit the website at www.uwwp.org. Survey results for all three surveys will be distributed over the summer.
About the United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the United Way of Westchester and Putnam operates with the fundamental belief that all people deserve a quality education, enough income to support a family, and opportunities for a healthy lifestyle. United Way works with agency partners, government, businesses and community leaders to solve problems that are too complex for any one entity alone. Contributions go toward improving the education, income, and health of the children, youth and families throughout Westchester and Putnam. United Way’s Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1, covering Westchester and Putnam as well as Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties, answers up to 500 calls and 1,000 online inquiries per day ranging from tax, heating, and mortgage questions to childcare, basic needs, natural disaster and crisis calls. The United Way of Westchester and Putnam is located at 336 Central Park Ave., White Plains, NY 10606. They can be reached at 914-997-6700 or by visiting www.uwwp.org. Follow the United Way on Facebook (www.facebook.com/UnitedWayWP) and Twitter (@UnitedWayWP) for the latest news and updates.
United Way of Westchester & Putnam’s CEO Testifies
About Charitable Tax Deduction on Capitol Hill
Naomi Adler, Esq. speaks on role of charitable giving to strengthen local communities
Westchester County, N.Y. (February 15, 2013) - On Thursday, February 14 at 9:30 am ET, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on tax reform and charitable contributions. The hearing comes at a critical time when Congress is making key decisions about the federal budget and tax reform.
Thirteen state and local United Way CEOs, as well as United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s Naomi Adler, testified on the charitable tax deduction and shared about the central role that charitable giving plays in strengthening communities.
“It was a privilege to stand before our nation’s lawmakers and testify on the importance of protecting the Charitable Tax Deduction that is a lifeline for nonprofits serving our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Naomi Adler, United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s CEO. “Taking away this deduction will hurt our neighbors who need help to stabilize their lives. Nonprofits are the best, most economical way to meet their needs and we have to keep them strong.”
Brian Gallagher, CEO of United Way Worldwide, urged the Committee to preserve the charitable deduction for all donors and asked that they consider ways to further incentivize private, charitable giving. The CEOs of the 13 state and local United Ways spoke about their organization’s response to the unique needs of their communities and how a modification to the charitable deduction would impact their ability to provide educational and employment opportunities.
One hundred state and local United Ways also made visits to Capitol Hill this week to advocate for the charitable deduction and avert the sequestration that will take effect on March 1. Combined, across-the-board cuts to discretionary education and human service programs and limits to charitable giving incentives in the tax code could leave millions of Americans who need help with no place left to turn. United Way will continue to advocate for policies that strengthen and support the vulnerable communities we serve.
In addition to advocating in Washington D.C. Alder joined United Way of Westchester and Putnam board members, Scott Morrison (Chappaqua) and Susan Reddy (Pelham) earlier this week, along with staff and volunteers from around the state, for a day advocating in Albany for United Way’s 2-1-1. February 11 (2/11) was proclaimed 2-1-1 Day by Governor Cuomo and he recognized and commended the work that United Way did during and after Hurricane Sandy. United Way of Westchester and Putnam fielded over 25,000 calls and over 1 million online searches during and after the storm.
For information about United Way of Westchester and Putnam or to learn how you can get involved through giving, advocating, or becoming a volunteer, please call 914-997-6700 or visit the website at www.uwwp.org. United Way of Westchester and Putnam is located at 336 Central Park Avenue, White Plains, NY 10606. Follow the United Way on Facebook (www.facebook.com/UnitedWayWP) and Twitter (@UnitedWayWP) for the latest news and updates.
About the United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the United Way of Westchester and Putnam operates with the fundamental belief that all people deserve a quality education, enough income to support a family, and opportunities for good health. United Way works with agency partners, government, businesses and community leaders to solve problems that are too complex for any one entity alone. Contributions go toward improving the education, income, and health of the children, youth and families throughout Westchester and Putnam. United Way’s 2-1-1, covering Westchester and Putnam as well as Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties, answers up to 500 calls and 1,000 online inquiries per day ranging from tax, heating, and mortgage questions to childcare, basic needs, natural disaster and crisis calls.
United Way of Westchester and Putnam CEO and President Naomi Adler, Esq. testified about charitable tax deduction on Capitol Hill at the recent State of the Union. Adler was one of 13 state and local United Way’s to address how the charitable deduction would impact the ability of thousands of Westchester and Putnam nonprofits to serve our most vulnerable neighbors.
As part of her advocacy trip to Washington D.C. Naomi Adler, United Way of Westchester and Putnam CEO and President, was invited by Congresswoman Nita Lowey to attend the State of the Union Address.
United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s Outreach and Emergency Management Director Pat Anderson and board member Susan Reddy (right) met with Assemblyman Gary Pretlow during the recent 2-1-1 Day in Albany, N.Y.
United Way of Westchester and Putnam board member Susan Reddy (right) and CEO Naomi Adler met with Assemblywomen Shelly Mayer (center) during the recent 2-1-1 Day in Albany, N.Y.
Westchester County, NY – (January, 2013) – Every four years United Way of Westchester and Putnam looks to the community to help guide its important work in the areas of education, income and health. Thousands of people who live or work here will get a chance to help prioritize top concerns through three online Community Conversation surveys.
The first survey is focused on education and will run now through February 28th. The income (financial stability) survey will launch in March and the health survey will run in May.
“We can’t do our work of advancing the common good unless we ask the community what makes life better in their town.” said Naomi Adler, United Way of Westchester and Putnam CEO and President. “Education is a great place to start. There are a lot of issues that students of all ages are experiencing in the community. Through the survey results we will know which ones are seen as most critical and will then direct our support through advocacy, volunteerism and grants.”
United Way’s goal is to have 1,000 people, representing every community in Putnam and Westchester, take each of the surveys. To do this, they need help in the form of volunteers.
“The core of our organization is our volunteer force and they make all the big decisions regarding where funding and resources are allocated,” said Adler.
United Way is also encouraging teachers, parents, students, grandparents, and administrators to participate in the education survey. There are two ways to help: 1) take the survey, and 2) spread the word so that others take the survey. Those interested in getting others involved are welcome to become a Community Conversation Leader, or by simply using United Way’s online resources to share the initiative through social media and email. United Way offers sample emails, graphics, Facebook, and Twitter posts for your personal use here: http://www.uwwp.org/help-promote.shtml.
To find out more or to take the survey visit, www.uwwp.org/community-assessment.shtml.
If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer Community Conversation Leader, contact Shannon Cobb, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-997-6700 x720.
During the last Community Conversations, in 2008-2009, more than 1,500 members of the community responded to surveys indicating what they considered to be the most pressing issues and service shortfalls in Westchester and Putnam. A task force of experts and leading volunteers was then created for each of the three focus areas to identify how to work towards solutions. Nonprofits then applied to be part of the solution through grants and worked closely with United Way and other nonprofits to measure progress on a quarterly basis. A full description of the eleven education, income, and health initiatives can be found at www.uwwp.org.
An overarching goal of the education initiative is to increase high school graduation rates through school readiness programs, support for at-risk students, and intergenerational mentoring. One in five students in Westchester does not graduate with their peers (one in ten in Putnam). Graduation rates are as low as 55% in some Westchester communities.
For information about the United Way Community Conversations, contact Susan Schefflein, 914-997-6700 x753 or visit the website at www.uwwp.org.
White Plains, NY - While the holidays are a traditional time of giving for many area corporations and their employees, need knows no calendar. United Way of Westchester and Putnam, which brings together volunteers, nonprofits, elected officials, and businesses to better the county’s communities, encourages its donors to extend the holiday season for others by contributing year-round to United Way’s Gifts-In-Kind program.
Gifts-In-Kind served 96 nonprofit agencies with goods worth $2 million last year. More than one-third of these nonprofits received goods that exceeded $5,000 in value. United Way hopes to match or better its success in the coming year.
“When you see how excited a low income mom gets when she finally has furniture for her toddler’s room, or a blanket and sheets for her teen, that’s when you realize how valuable these items are,” said Naomi Adler, United Way of Westchester and Putnam CEO and President.
The Gifts-In-Kind program receives and distributes donations from both corporations and individuals. Linked directly to local corporations as well as the largest matching gifts-in-kind corporate broker in the country (Goods360), United Way is the conduit for new goods such as diapers, household goods, and toys which are channeled to people in need through a variety of nonprofits. United Way frequently even covers the cost of shipping for larger, high-demand items such as new mattresses and toys. For example, United Way matched and distributed between 4,000-5,000 Mattel toys to children in need during the holidays.
United Way also helps broker individual donations of used furniture, appliances, toys, automobiles, and boats throughout the year via its website at www.uwwp.org/gifts-in-kind.shtml. Donors send in a photo and description of their items and United Way forwards it on to their list of vetted eligible nonprofits, which can get very creative with the donations. This past summer, United Way arranged for Groundwork Hudson Valley to receive a donation from Home Depot of several hundred light fixtures.
“Rather than just give away the light fixtures to needy homeowners, we empowered our summer youth program participants to create a community education event on energy-efficient home lighting. They give a free light fixture to each attendee, and the event was so popular that we could have used hundreds more fixtures,” says Curt Collier, Deputy Director. “We appreciate the opportunity given to us by United Way and Home Depot to be creative in using the donation to extend our environmental education efforts and reach a much larger audience.”
Recipient agencies include American Cancer Society-Westchester Division, Family Services of Westchester, Greyston Foundation, Groundwork Hudson Valley, Westchester Jewish Community Services, YMCAs in Yonkers and White Plains, and several Community Action Programs, among many others.
“Although gift giving is most active during the holiday season, United Way helps encourage contributions year-round,” explains Adler. “Last year, we used only $5,000 in monetary donations to ship, deliver and connect $2 million in products to the community. That is money well spent.”
For more information on Gifts-In-Kind and other United Way donation programs, please contact Mary Ann Pero at 914-997-6700 x755 or visit the website at http://www.uwwp.org/gifts-in-kind.shtml.