Accepting the largest game-day contribution in United Way of Central Indiana's history, President and CEO Ellen K. Annala (right) and Campaign Chair Marianne Glick (to Annala's left) were joined on the court by other LIVE UNITED supporters at the December 16 preseason game of the Indiana Pacers vs. the Chicago Bulls.
Pacers Vice President Greg Schenkel (front left) and President Jim Morris made the ceremonial presentation for $100,000. The gift celebrated the Pacers' return to basketball, and was the start of a "Big Things Are Coming" campaign. The contribution helped United Way push closer to its $39.2 million goal, passing the 88 percent mark.
--Mary Kinney, public/media relations director, United Way of Central Indiana
Emma, an experienced financial and housing counselor at Families First, a United Way agency, recently celebrated her 11th anniversary at the agency. Out of the blue, she received a telephone call that made her already special day even better.
Cheryl, one of her first clients, called to thank Emma for playing a pivotal role in helping her find a path to self-sufficiency.
Cheryl's husband died and she was worried about losing her home. She turned to Emma at Families First for help sorting out her financial troubles. They met several times to review Cheryl's income and expenses, develop a manageable monthly budget and make a plan to achieve Cheryl's financial goals.
During their talks, Emma learned Cheryl had some college but had never completed the work to earn her degree. They talked about the connection between education and financial stability, and Emma encouraged Cheryl to find a way to finish her schooling.
Now, 11 years later, Cheryl called Emma to let her know she had taken that advice. Cheryl earned a degree in social work and is now working as a family advocate at The Julian Center, also a United Way agency.
In her work, Cheryl is paying it forward by helping other women overcome difficult challenges and get back on their feet.
It's likely she'll be answering a similar phone call someday too, thanks in part to your contribution to United Way.
Gail Rothrock, Senior Vice President, Families First
Editor's note: Undesignated gifts to United Way's campaign help people like Cheryl get through a crisis and on a path to financial stability. This year, annual campaign contributions are being invested in 45 agencies that help individuals with basics like food, rent and utilities, as well as giving them hope and support to move up the economic ladder. For example, an undesignated gift of $1,000 will help pay the monthly salary of an outreach coordinator to help families in overcoming barriers to stability.
Since 1921, UWCI has invested more than $44.5 million in Families First as it has evolved from providing charity relief to its present day mission which offers family-focused counseling and support to help troubled families and individuals overcome marital or family conflicts, domestic violence and chemical dependency. Services also include parent education, family preservation, home-based services for older and challenged adults, Employee Assistance and financial literacy programs. The agency’s current year allocation is $1,123,656.
United Way’s funding includes more than $1 million in grants for capital, technology and other targeted purposes (funded apart from the annual campaign).
I was drawn to United Christmas Service about 35 years ago. My donation of time and advertising materials led to my becoming its volunteer chairman, a position I’ve held for 30 years now.
Christmas Service is the city’s clearing house for the majority of holiday assistance programs and the largest of this group. We served more than 28,000 individuals in 2010.
Social workers at Indianapolis Public Schools, community centers, and more identify the families with the greatest needs and they receive vouchers good for toys, food and clothes only.
Approximately 1,500 families with extraordinary needs are adopted by companies, churches, families and other groups.
As an example, a few years ago our adopted family consisted of grandparents in poor health raising two small children. My wife, Sally, discovered that the grandmother had to sleep in a broken-down recliner because of back issues. So along with the usual items, we brought her an inexpensive new recliner.
As she tearfully sat in her new chair, she proclaimed, "I feel like a queen." She was raising the toddlers that her daughter couldn’t and living in a far from desirable home, yet she felt "like a queen."
Another year, the father of the family had been a painter in a van that caught on fire on the interstate. Much of his body had been burned, and he suffered through numerous surgical procedures.
We came a few days before Christmas bringing warm clothing for all, toys for the little ones and a healthy supply of food. This father who had suffered so greatly and was going in for his next surgery on Christmas Day loudly proclaimed, "We are so blessed!"
I don’t believe I could have mustered-up such a proclamation if I had been in his shoes, but I can assure you that everyone crowded into that small apartment at that moment was blessed – his family and mine.
Our extended family relishes these annual visits as they have become a vital part of our holiday season.
--Ron Pearson, volunteer
Will you join Ron by adopting a family or making a financial contribution to United Christmas Service?