Weekly Meeting - June 19: United Way Today

Speaker: Pam Smith has been President/Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Washtenaw County since 2012. From 2008 to 2012, she was Executive Director of the Child Care Network.  She was Director of Public Affairs and Marketing at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum from 1999 to 2008. She serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Michigan Center for Leadership and Management of Community Benefit Organizations. She has played an active volunteer role in the Washtenaw Health Initiative. In addition to being a member of the Board of Directors, Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County, she actively combats homelessness in Washtenaw County through her work on the Continuum of Care Board of  the County’s Office of Community and Economic Development.

United Way (formally United Way Worldwide, formerly United Way of America) is a nonprofit organization that works through 1,200 local offices throughout the country. Its operational model is to pool fundraising efforts by community-minded entities to help, collectively, make a positive difference in the community. United Way endeavors to accomplish that end by identifying and resolving pressing local issues or, at least, effectuating measurable change in those areas. Each community is unique. The action plan developed in and for each community therefore also is unique.

United Way of Washtenaw County has served our local community for almost 100 years. It focuses on three key pillars for building a quality life: education, health, and financial stability. Its recent strategic plan outlines a comprehensive approach through 2020 to build up that safety net here. The goals enunciated therein are:

(1) Helping children and youth succeed through engagement. By 2030, a child’s zip code should no longer be determinative of his or her opportunities in life. Every child should start school ready to succeed, graduate from high school, and feel both physically and emotionally safe in his or her community.

(2) Strengthening and supporting families.

(3) Improving access to health care, medicine, and healthy food.

(4) Promoting financial stability, with the goal of preventing homelessness and enabling self-sufficency.

Our speaker will outline for us how United Way of Washtenaw County intends to advance the achievement of those goals and objectives in 2019-2020.