You might have seen United Way and its Area Agency on Aging in the news taking a leading role to help the residents of Westchester Plaza, one of the largest assisted-living facilities in Texas.
Residents were notified in July that the facility will close Aug. 10, and United Way is working to reduce the stress and uncertainty the residents are facing.
United Way staff is committed to helping all of the residents, many of whom are older adults and people with disabilities, by finding new places for them to live, providing moving supplies, packing household goods and arranging transportation. Their leadership is crucial in helping our fellow Tarrant County residents.
But what would the community be like if United Way weren’t here to step up? What would have happened to those residents?
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Like you, that’s not a scenario I want to entertain. The reality is that unplanned and difficult situations happen often, and having strong social service agencies like United Way in place and ready to respond is vital.
The Westchester Plaza situation is merely one example of why the community needs a vibrant United Way.
It’s an organization rich with history that has served our community for almost 95 years. With the support of individuals, foundations, labor unions and corporate partnerships, United Way has raised hundreds of millions to be invested in Tarrant County by supporting organizations, causes, partnerships, emergency situations and everyday citizens.
Each year, United Way and its partners help about 300,000 people. That means that about 1 in 7 people in Tarrant County may directly benefit from the efforts of United Way and its network of nonprofits, and health and human services partners.
In the past 18 months, however, corporate relocations, company acquisitions, consolidations and layoffs have affected our community, which has contributed to a decrease in workplace campaign fundraising.
When corporate and employee philanthropy declines, less money goes to United Way and the other nonprofit organizations that serve the community. This can harm essential services like providing child care to working parents, providing medical services for diabetes patients, offering job training for veterans and teaching young children to read proficiently.
As a member of the board of directors at United Way, I’ve seen first-hand the incredible impact that donors, volunteers and staff make, and realize that Tarrant County needs this organization to continue to thrive.
United Way addresses problems in education, income and health as well as other social challenges that affect our community, such as helping older adults and people with disabilities, as we’ve seen at Westchester Plaza.
United Way of Tarrant County experienced more than a $2 million decrease in campaign contributions in its last fiscal year.
I firmly believe that we can do better.
We must get behind our United Way so it can continue to respond to the increasing demands of our growing and aging population, and make even more immediate changes for the future so we all can experience a better quality of life.
As chair for the 2017-18 United Way campaign, I am personally inviting you — business and community leaders alike — to join me in support of this community resource.
If you’ve not had a workplace campaign and would like to do so, contact me personally, and we’ll help make it happen.
I’ve been committed to this community for more than 20 years and I’m doubling down on that commitment today.
Let’s all choose to LIVE UNITED.
Mark G. Nurdin is a community leader with over 30 years experience in banking and finance. He is the immediate past chair of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and current campaign chair of United Way of Tarrant County.
How to join the fight
By web: unitedwaytarrant.org/JOINTHEFIGHT
By phone: 817-258-8000