Other Voices

Here’s how the United Way is investing in Tarrant County in the coming year

Most people give to charity at some point, but they don’t consider themselves philanthropists.

It isn’t just a title for the wealthy, though. Anyone can be a philanthropist, regardless of status or net worth. A philanthropist is a person who donates money, experience, skill, talent or time to help create a better world.

I’m more convinced than ever that’s what we are seeing with the United Way of Tarrant County’s allocations. More people are recognizing that the social fabric of Tarrant County is made robust by every man and woman contributing what they can to make this community a stronger and better place.

We recently announced more than $10 million in funding for 2019-20, including almost $5 million allocated to address social issues identified in the organization’s Community Assessment plan: basic needs and financial stability; education/workforce; mental, emotional and physical health; affordable housing/homelessness; and transportation.

This investment in the community reflects the directive of our donors while continuing to provide funding for safety net and other key initiatives, including systems change and funding for veterans.

Community, corporate, government and foundation donations to United Way make it all possible. Community investments include nearly $6 million toward donor-designated gifts; $2.2 million for Safety Net, which is a network of services offered to the community through the United Way system of partners; and $1.6 million for Scalable Community Change, which funds programs targeted at communities rather than individuals.

Also, United Way allocated more than $355,000 for Systems Change funding, which focuses on the root cause of social issues; more than $370,000 in funding through the Veterans Fund, which supports military service members and their families; and more than $48,000 to Women United programs, which are focused on women and girls. Each initiative works to solve distinct needs for the community.

My heartfelt thanks to our Community Investment committees, the volunteer team that carefully reviewed each request for funding, for their thoughtful recommendations on where funding should be directed. Their professional expertise and experience are vital to ensuring United Way’s dollars are directed toward organizations best positioned to address issues outlined in the Community Assessment and deliver powerful and positive results.

Each year, United Way of Tarrant County helps more than 300,000 people. There are no fees on donor designations, with 100 percent of the donations going to the selected agency or cause.

This compassion and generosity remind me of a story about humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer. The Albert Schweitzer Hospital was built on the west coast of Central Africa by the German doctor in the early 20th century to treat tropical diseases.

Over the years, the hospital has grown, but the sign above the door still reads: “Here, at whatever hour you come, you will find light and help and human kindness.”

It continues to inspire millions today, as shown here — the Tarrant County community has shown its light, its willingness to give and its kindness.

T.D. Smyers is president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County.
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