Gary BairdGary Baird
Probably, everyone thinks first and foremost that the most important thing that United Way does for its partners is its annual financial grant.  Believe me, we are very grateful for the financial support. It goes a long way to keeping our doors open, so that we can assist the homeless in the western Benton County and Siloam Springs area. Thank you United Way and everyone who contributes to their efforts.  But that is not even the half of it, and most members of the community might not even be aware of what else goes on at United Way that supports the community and the organizations who partner with them.
Let me enlighten you.
For one, we are able to assist with diapers through their diaper bank, a need that is witnessed by the 44,000 diapers we at Genesis House distribute over the course of the year. It would not happen without United Way support. United Way’s Gift-In-Kind program allow us to get much needed items, such as over the counter cold and flu medicines, toilet paper, soap and etc. to those who, otherwise, could not afford them. Another major importance to several non-profits in the area is that United Way acts as a lead agency, hosting federal money through their United Way Worldwide Emergency Food & Shelter Program. This program allows Genesis House to do homeless prevention by keeping families and children in their homes when they face the threat of eviction. Other agencies who receive this money give emergency shelter or food. The total monetary value of these support items for Genesis House ends up being twice as much, if not more, as their generous annual financial grants.
But maybe even the most important of all is that United Way serves as a major educational voice in Northwest Arkansas for the non-profits who serve and for those who they serve.  United Way does the research, they get people to talk about issues, they try to find the answers, and then they move people to respond. They get people to volunteer.  Why do we support United Way? Because they believe in what all their partners are doing. Its nice to have someone like United Way believe in you.