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Editorial: Clear mission reaps large rewards for United Way

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When a nonprofit organization has a clear mission, an understanding of the most pressing issues and information to support its plans, securing donations tends to be more successful.

United Way of Bartholomew County has that nailed.

The organization set a campaign fundraising record for the third consecutive year with $4,079,484. The total also marked the second straight year that at least $4 million had been raised. Bartholomew County has led the state in per-capita giving for the past 11 years and is likely to do so again.

That speaks to the quality of leadership of United Way President Mark Stewart and the agency’s board of directors but also its grasp of community problems. United Way’s top priorities are addressing struggling residents’ financial stability, education and health. The agency’s goals include helping more children start kindergarten on grade level and helping more residents meet their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.

United Way’s success also ties to an ability to serve its constituents. United Way-related programs reach an estimated 25,000 residents, almost one-third of the county’s 77,000 population.

One of its new initiatives is a jobs-related pilot program, Bartholomew County Works. The program is helping eight unemployed or underemployed, low-income clients boost their financial stability by developing skills that could eventually secure them stable, higher-paying jobs with benefits. United Way is training people to better themselves.

That’s a bandwagon worth climbing onto.

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