By Kymberly Cook, Executive Director, Children’s Home Society, Buckner Division
Across our beautiful Children’s Home Society campus, there are little blue, yellow and red signs with a hand holding a figure surrounded by a rainbow. One of my favorites says “Here matters.” In just two words, it reminds us that the work being done on these grounds changes lives.
These signs bear the logo of United Way of Northeast Florida, and I suppose you could say we have history.
Children’s Home Society (CHS) was a founding partner of United Way, going all the way back to the days of the Community Chest. At CHS, we share United Way’s vision of making life better for individuals and families. While our work at CHS focuses primarily on child welfare, foster care management, parent education, and adoption services, we know our families can benefit from the tremendous range of programs and initiatives led by United Way.
I’ve had the privilege this year of chairing the nonprofit division of the 2014 Campaign Cabinet, as well as the United Way Agency Directors Association (UWADA) campaign. I think the nonprofit community supported by United Way has a special understanding of this year’s theme, “Big Results. Big Impact.” From program managers to executive directors, the nonprofit community, including United Way’s 80 impact partners, works every day to make the biggest impact possible with every dollar given and volunteer hour spent.
I have been inspired by the generosity of our agencies this year that have risen to the challenge to do something big. I’ve met employees working for near-minimum wage giving at leadership levels, and I’ve seen nonprofits choose to give to support the common good beyond their own organizations.
As a part of United Way volunteer leadership, I’ve also become so much more informed about the strategic and focused nature of United Way’s Community Impact Model, which allocates funds to programs that are driving results and improving lives. At CHS, our program directors are responsible for applying to receive United Way funding in order to understand the rigor and intensity of acquiring the powerful support of United Way. In this process, they are able to not only express their need, but also their success, because it is the progress we make together that tells the story of big impact.
Per capita, the nonprofit community gives more to United Way than any other business in the five-county region. I am proud to be a part of an outstanding network that is continuously improving our community, and I am thankful for the big results we’re able to achieve together.