United Way: Building a Brighter Future

Many factors help make a community a great place to live, work and play. Yet, communities are often measured by the commitment it makes to its youth, its senior citizens and its underprivileged. At United Way, we strive to address issues that impact the quality of our community including factors that advance the well-being of our youth and seniors so they can live safe, healthy and stable lives.

This past year, United Way has provided financial support for 45 different nonprofit organizations and community projects that are working toward the goal of advancing the well-being of youth, families and senior citizens. These funds come from donations made by caring citizens who support our annual United Way campaign. Last year, $450,000 was raised through the United Way campaign.

This year’s 2017-2018 United Way Campaign has kicked-off and is underway. Our goal is $475,000. We serve as the fund-raising “hub” that provides financial support for over 20 non-profit organizations in the Fort Dodge/Webster County region that provide services and assistance for underprivileged children and families, and also senior citizens. This year’s campaign theme is “Building a Brighter Future.”

Even though the Fort Dodge economy has been vibrant over the past few years and we have seen significant commercial and retail development, we still have many children in families that are struggling financially. Today, 60 percent of the youths in Fort Dodge come from low-income families; many are in families that are at the poverty level or not too far from it. Many of these kids have to overcome the barriers that often accompany poverty including hunger, family instability, homelessness, crime, abuse, depression, and lack of parental support. This is why the key part of our United Way mission is to help youth overcome these barriers so they can grow up to be happy, productive citizens and have a brighter future filled with hope.

Our annual United Way campaign is a true example of “community,” because hundreds of Fort Dodge and Webster County citizens support the campaign with their donations knowing that their charitable dollars will be granted back into the community to help children, families and seniors that need a “helping hand.” In simple terms, it is friends helping neighbors and that is what “community” is all about.

If you are approached in your work place or by letter, we hope you will strongly consider supporting this year’s campaign. Your donation, be it $50, $150 or $500, will be pooled with hundreds of other donations and will be invested back into our community to impact the lives of children and their families who aren’t looking for a handout but can certainly use a “helping hand.”

To donate to this year’s United Way campaign, checks can be mailed to United Way of Greater Fort Dodge, 24 N. Ninth St., Suite B, Fort Dodge, IA 50501.

Randy Kuhlman is the chief executive officer of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way.