Another Western New York summer is in the books, and our community has come together once again for the annual United Way of Buffalo & Erie County Campaign. Our Campaign co-chairs, Jay McWatters of Dopkins & Company and Susan O'Sullivan of Ingram Micro, are hard at work inspiring executives and employees across Erie County to join them in supporting this year's effort.
As you will read, we formally kicked off the Campaign on September 17, announcing our $14.4 million dollar goal. The very next day, that goal was put into even sharper focus when a Buffalo News article revealed that poverty now impacts more than half of the children in the City of Buffalo. This alarming statistic is clear evidence that while our community is enjoying a resurgence, much work remains to be done to ensure that the most vulnerable among us can fully participate in the bright days on our horizon.
Your support of United Way's work through an undesignated contribution to this year's Campaign will make a difference. Through program funding and community-wide collaborations, we are working to address some of the key issues that contribute to poverty among children and adults in this community: addressing barriers to a good education from birth through high school graduation; enhancing the financial stability of families in need; and supporting healthy behaviors, healthy choices, and access to needed care to improve health and wellness for people of all ages.
Thank you for your past support, and thank you in advance for all you do as a donor and volunteer to improve the well-being of our community.
On September 17, more than 100 corporate and nonprofit supporters gathered at the UB Center for Tomorrow to help us kick off our Campaign. Jay McWatters and Susan O'Sullivan, our 2014 Campaign co-chairs, unveiled our goal: $14.4 million.
Our speakers were passionate and inspiring; click the links below to watch their remarks:
Once again, this year brings many opportunities to support United Way beyond your workplace - checkout scanning campaigns at Wegmans, Tops, and Shop 'N Save, and we are also delighted to continue our partnership with the Buffalo Bills through their 50/50 raffle at each home game.
The Campaign is already underway at hundreds of local companies. Keep up with all the excitement - and get some ideas for your own workplace Campaign - at www.storify.com/uwbec/campaign-2014.
When you give to United Way, you make a difference all day, every day. Click HERE (Adobe PDF format) to see how you rewrite stories from morning until night when you support your United Way.
This was a beautiful Western New York summer, and generous local families and employees began and ended it in true Erie County fashion: by volunteering.
On June 7, 53 local families spent a beautiful Saturday morning volunteering at ten local nonprofits during our fifth annual Family Volunteer Day, sponsored for a fifth consecutive year by Rich Products. Volunteers assisted in a wide range of activities including making favors and birthday cards, painting boats, sprucing up garden beds, and cleaning outdoor recreation spaces. Volunteer projects included a family "Paint In" to paint a fleet of boats at the Buffalo Maritime Center, weeding and garden preparation at the Frank Lloyd Wright Fontana Boathouse and making birthday cards and favors for Meals on Wheel Participants. Additional participating agencies included Compass House, Food Bank of WNY, Hospice, Matt Urban Hope Center, Ronald McDonald House, The Salvation Army, and Upstate New York Transplant Services. You can check out photos from the day on our Flickr page by clicking HERE.
August 20 marked our 22nd Day of Caring, sponsored by GM Powertrain, HSBC, National Grid and Wegmans. More than 3,600 volunteers from 137 companies spent their day volunteering at 129 local nonprofits. Volunteers helped to paint, landscape, work with children and seniors, chaperone, clean, beautify, serve lunch, and much more. You can catch up with the events of the day at www.storify.com/uwbec/day-of-caring-2014.
We received a beautiful message about the day on our Facebook page - it sums up the impact Day of Caring can have not only on agencies and the people they serve, but on our hardworking volunteers:
Thank you for the Day of Caring 2014 experience.
I call this picture I took today:
This was my first Day of Caring experience and it was amazing.
It's truly unique when everyone combines their talents and abilities together what good can be accomplished.
It didn't sink in until I went with Samer Hanash all over Buffalo to meet all the wonderful groups of people from all different companies and walks of life. To get a chance to talk to them about their experiences from the day and how they felt was truly mind blowing. To be able to hear and see how much joy they had even though they were covered in dirt and sweat, really expressed the true meaning behind this day. There were so many people helping out that hit my heart right then and there. I choked back some tears because it was such a wonderful thing to see everyone donating their time to help out the less fortunate and their communities. I saw so many people helping others that it made me wonder why is it that there's so much turmoil in this world. All it takes is some compassion, patience, and love to make a difference. Thanks to everyone for such a wonderful time. I look forward to helping out the United Way in the future in anyway I possibly can.
- John Carpenter
Access to information is often a barrier for people when it comes to finding the services they need. Finding innovative ways to get information in the hands of those who need it can truly make a difference. That is why we are proud to be a partner in the AT&T Western New York Civic App Challenge, a two-month "virtual hackathon" for Upstate New York software developers, coders, innovative thinkers, designers, artists, and entrepreneurs to use community data to create mobile apps that address social and civic issues in Western New York.
Apps submitted to the challenge will be judged on potential impact on Western New York, execution and creativity/novelty. To make the challenge truly Western New York-centric, teams submitting mobile apps must include at least one member that is a current resident of the eight counties that make up the region (Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Wyoming, Genesee, Orleans, Niagara and Allegany) or attends one of the region's institutions of higher education.
The Challenge kicked off on September 10 and will conclude on November 10. The top three apps will be announced and demonstrated on November 20. The developers will share a prize pool of $18,000 - $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second and $3,000 for third. The real winner will be people in our community who will be able to access information in new and useful ways. For more information, visit attwny.hackupstate.com.
Women's Leadership Council: 100 Women Who Care Event
The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County Women's Leadership Council (WLC) is an influential group of nearly 1,800 community-minded women who partner with United Way to improve lives and build a better future for our whole community. Every female member of our Leadership Society who directly supports our work with at least $250 of their contribution is enrolled in the WLC. Members are invited to exclusive networking and volunteer activities throughout the year.
On July 9, 100 WLC members donned their most beautiful garden party hats and gathered at the Twentieth Century Club for our first 100 Women Who Care event. Each attendee made a $100 contribution; the evening's donations totaled $10,000. Members filled out a ballot with the name of an agency in which they personally believed; ballots were drawn at random, and the attendees who filled them out were invited to make a pitch on behalf of their agency. The 4 nominees were United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, Cradle Beach, Olmsted Center for Sight, and Read to Succeed Buffalo. At the conclusion of the brief presentations, WLC members voted to determine which agency would be awarded the $10,000. The votes revealed that Cradle Beach was the winner of the $10,000.
WLC member Thomasina Stenhouse delivered the powerful personal story of her involvement with Cradle Beach that inspired the majority vote; click HERE to watch the video. Congratulations to Cradle Beach and many thanks to the WLC members that made the evening so memorable. We look forward to 100 Women Who Care next year!
Our United Way is approaching a major milestone - our 100th anniversary. In 1917, Ainsley Wilcox and others gathered together as volunteers to run the first local Community Campaign to raise funds for people in need. Nearly 100 years later, the work of United Way has grown far beyond fundraising into true community transformation.
We will celebrate our 100th anniversary in 2017 with a series of events and activities, and we would like to include as many people as possible. Do you have any stories about your experience with United Way over the years that you would like to share with us? If so, contact Katherine Russell at Katherine.firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to hear from you!
- Take a
brief (5-minute), 8-question survey about our current Mission, Vision and
Values at https://www.surveymonkey.
- Let us know your thoughts in person at one of six upcoming moderated focus group sessions. All sessions will be held at the United Way, 742 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo NY. Attendance is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Sessions will be held on:
Report to the Community:11/17, 8:00 - 9:30 am, WNED. Call Joyce Brown at 887-2799 for more information.
Upcoming Leadership Society Events* (Call Joyce Brown at 887-2799 for more information):
Lunch with Leaders hosted by Dave Anderson at HeathNow/BC&BS of WNY: 10/23, 12:00 - 1:30pm
*These events are open exclusively to Leadership Society members, who make an annual commitment of $500 or more to our Campaign. Visit www.uwbec.org/leadership for more information on our Leadership Society.
Events and Training for Nonprofits (call Joe Roccisano at 887-2757 for more information)
Constituent Relationship Management seminar: 11/10, 9:00 - 10:30 am