Monday, September 14, 2015

Why I Give to United Way?

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (UWMD) invests in Income, Education and Health, and is making measurable progress in these three areas. 

My organization, MDHA, leads the development of a homeless response system, that will make homelessness in Dallas and Collin Counties, rare, brief and non-recurring. How does that connect to what UWMD is doing?

Picture this: It is August 2015. There are tents and other temporary structures, that have formed a tent city under I-45. Our multi-agency Outreach Taskforce has been working with the folks living there for two or three months, getting to know them, building rapport, and connecting them to housing solutions. The Taskforce knows they are making progress, but it is a process. 

Then, our VP, Rebecca, sees something she has never seen in any of her previous visits - a one year old baby. She immediately calls our CEO, Cindy, and they, being moms themselves, decide then and there, that this baby is not sleeping outside of a home that night. Rebecca asks the mom a few simple questions, and Rebecca discovers that the baby's mom has a housing voucher and an apartment waiting for her. So, why on earth is she in a tent? Well, she can't afford the $45 application fee for the apartment. And the program that got her the voucher is funded by a grant, that does not fund application fees. So, she is stuck!

Fortunately, MDHA, with the help of UWMD, had created the MDHA Flex Fund. This fund is designed to pay for minor, but impactful expenses, that can and do make a huge difference. So, Cindy had a $45 check for the application fee immediately cut. Rebecca ran back to the office to pick up the check and deliver it. The problem was solved. Mom and baby were housed. 

Think about the ripple effects of that $45. In the business world we would call it the ROI, the return on investment. Better still, think about what happens without that $45. Without that $45, that baby does not have a home. Without a home, how do you escape poverty? Without a home, how do you raise a healthy child? Without a home, how can you and your child concentrate on a kid's number one job, learning? That $45 gets you the package deal - Income, Education and Health. 

That is why I run a United Way campaign at our office. That is why I give to UWMD. That is why I call on you to give to UWMD. So, so do what I do. Figure out how much you can give, and then give that much, plus 10%. On behalf of UWMD, on behalf of MDHA and on behalf of the baby and her mom, thank you for giving. 

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