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Column: Join Together to Help Our Neighbors in Need

Kurt Brummett

Robert has fallen behind his classmates as he struggles to learn how to read due to undiagnosed dyslexia. Angela and her son, David, do not know where to turn after experiencing an evening of traumatic violence and abuse at the hands of a family member. Josephine is unable to prepare her own meals following hip replacement surgery.

Three seemingly unrelated circumstances that all tell the story of the United Way of Oxford-Lafayette County just like countless others from our community comprising people of all ages, beliefs and backgrounds. Our narrative is one of unity, togetherness and teamwork as we partner with agencies like Leap Frog, Family Crisis Services and Three Rivers along with our amazing supporters to make a meaningful difference.

As we each advance stories during 2023, our organization asks you to play a starring role in ours.

The past year has been difficult from a fundraising perspective for many nonprofits as escalating costs and other economic influences have affected the ability of people as well as businesses to give. The decrease in donations has placed an even bigger burden on agencies already facing increased demand for services without an accompanying rise in revenue. As staffing and funding limitations are often the norm rather than the exception in our community, the effects have only added to an overloaded local nonprofit network.

The ramifications are our United Way needs your help as we continue supporting our partners and the multitudes we mutually serve. As needs continually grow and the requisite resources to address them fail to keep pace, our board of directors and I encourage everyone to contribute to our 2022-2023 campaign in order to rewrite the narratives of the Roberts, Angelas, Davids and Josephines requiring our assistance.

Every donation is an investment that yields extraordinary returns and no amount is too small to make a significant impact as we unite to improve health, advance education, promote financial stability and meet basic needs throughout Oxford and Lafayette County.

While some nonprofits and their leadership speak far too often of I, my and me when conveying their story, our organization focuses on the us, our and we that have defined our more than 52-year history. Even though our staff totals one, our message and vision are anything but singular as collaboration and cooperation have exemplified our work and amplified our impact since our inception.

We realized long ago that some stories are not necessarily ours to address and quests for credit, recognition and/or accolades run contrary to our calling to join together to help our neighbors in need.

Local leaders formed our organization to offer our community a unified approach to fundraising for and investing in worthwhile initiatives that benefit the lives of Lafayette County residents. A primary purpose was to improve the efficiency and efficacy of local fundraising efforts while at the same time enhancing the favorable outcomes associated with such investments by leveraging available resources to maximize impact. We have sought to achieve those objectives along with so many more by collaborating to assist dozens of programs and innumerable individuals since 1970.

We have the power to change the trajectories of thousands through our collective kindness, compassion and concern. We must not wait to act, though, as no one knows when the closing credits will begin or the final paragraph will end for those needing our assistance.

Review the United Way of Oxford-Lafayette County’s story at uwoxfordms.org and be a scintillating star for our community in 2023 by partnering to produce positive plot twists too incredible to believe.

Kurt Brummett is the executive director of the United Way of Oxford-Lafayette County

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