Over the last several years, United Way of Northwest Louisiana has experienced a downward trend in our workplace giving campaigns as well as in general financial support from the community. As a response, in 2014, we changed our strategy of how we funded local nonprofit programs to a collective impact model. More recently, we have experienced a 20% decrease from 2017 to 2018.
Consequently, we have reviewed, in detail, our annual operating budget and made cuts to several areas, including: travel, national conferences, a full-time fundraising staff position, marketing contracts, community/civic memberships, as well as freezing enrollment for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for the first time since the program’s inception. It is our desire to maintain the same level of support for the community at large in terms of investments for local nonprofit programs, including United Way programs.
To address the needs of our community and adapt to economic changes, we have instituted the following:
- Commissioned the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report and refocused our work around alleviating the plight of the working poor.
- Advocated for and funded proprietary programs in each of our four pillars of impact:
- 2-1-1 (Essential Needs);
- Imagination Library (Education);
- FamilyWize Prescription assistance (Health); and
- Financial Empowerment Center (Financial Stability).
- Brought awareness of our proprietary programs to our corporate partners and sought to make those programs accessible to all of their eligible employees.
- Communicated the actual impact results of each companies’ and businesses’ financial investment with United Way of Northwest Louisiana.
- Secured financial grants from city, parish, state and national entities.
- Restructured our fundraising leadership.
- Engaged new and past relationships with major donors.
In addition, United Way of Northwest Louisiana is evaluating a series of changes to be implemented over the next several months that will allow us to effectively align the financial support we receive with the impact we want to achieve. We will narrow our focus and emphasize fewer programs, making a larger community impact. These programs will be strictly ALICE centered with an even more concentrated focus in the areas of health, education, financial stability and essential needs that help individuals throughout our ten-parish region of Northwest Louisiana.
Since 1921 United Way of Northwest Louisiana has been committed to fighting to improve the lives of every person in every community we serve. That has not and will not change. United, we win!
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (318) 677-2504 or John Schmidt, Board Chair at (318) 218-9294.
Dr. Bruce G. Willson, Jr.