United Way seeks to “reinvent our future”, fall fundraiser kicks off

The Monroe County United Way welcomed community members outside the mill on Thursday to kick off its annual fundraiser. Several speakers argued that United Way’s fundraising efforts are more valuable than ever during the pandemic.

Donna Colón, executive director of the Southeast Indiana Chapter of the American Red Cross, praised the work of the United Way when the community’s needs were dire.

“United Way agencies in Monroe County have worked more closely than ever during the pandemic,” Colón said. “Despite the obstacles, United Way’s continued support obtained through their annual campaign was essential.”

American Red Cross Executive Director Donna Colón speaks as the United Way of Monroe County fundraising campaign kicks off on Thursday outside The Mill.  Colón is a member of the board of directors of Centraide.

After the pandemic stalled efforts to host the same in-person event last year, the importance of the “Reimagine Our Future” rally has not escaped the notice of United Way chief executive Efrat Feferman. “We didn’t do it in person last year, and it just didn’t look the same.”

“And the weather cooperated” for the outdoor event, added Feferman with a laugh.

Feferman said there is still a need for face-to-face community interactions like this in the digital age. “I feel like digital platforms really allow us to extend our reach to people and engage them in new ways and engage new people in new ways. Yet being able to come together in as a community for something like that – it was just missing. “

United Way Executive Director Efrat Feferman speaks as the United Way of Monroe County fundraising campaign kicks off on Thursday outside The Mill in downtown Bloomington.

For Feferman, a big part of the event was simply to educate supporters in the community about the great work being done by the organization and its affiliates. “I really wanted to point out to the public how hard everyone has worked, not just Centraide, but all of our partners. The network, the great effort it takes to put all of this together for the community to play this role. ‘make sure the safety net is strong and resilient. It takes so many people to catch up with it. “

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Feferman urged everyone to contribute to the cause in whatever way they can.

“Each of us has to do what we can. For some people we have donors who give a dollar a month, and people in the five figures, but it all adds up to the funds we hope to raise. … Anything that people can do is appreciated so much right now. You know, if you can’t give but want to volunteer, become an advocate, that’s necessary too. “

Mary Morgan of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce speaks at the United Way of Monroe County fundraising kickoff on Thursday outside The Mill.  Morgan is a member of the United Way Board of Directors.

Mary Morgan, who works as the Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, explained to the crowd the importance of the Monroe County United Way mission to the success of the local business community .

In an interview with The Herald-Times, Morgan noted, “United Way is one of the largest and most crucial organizations that raises funds to support all agencies that do good work that makes our community a great place to be. better.

“I think it’s generally important for the business community to support the work of Centraide. Like I said (in my remarks), companies here need a strong community overall for a strong workforce. We want individuals and families to be successful, and that helps everyone, ”Morgan said. “It is the central element of Centraide’s work.

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Morgan praised United Way’s rapid adaptation to meet the needs of the community when COVID-19 hit in the spring of 2020. “I think they were able to pivot very quickly and effectively when the pandemic struck for provide the kind of support needed. The people who are the most vulnerable in our community were those who needed the support of Centraide and the agencies that Centraide supports even more. “

Caleb Steiner, Director of Corporate Strategy at Hoosier Energy REMC, speaks at the launch of the United Way of Monroe County fundraising campaign on Thursday at The Mill.  Steiner is a member of the board of directors of Centraide.

The event also featured the ALL Abilities choir performing “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and “Stand by Me”.

For more information and to donate to the United Way of Monroe County, visit https://www.monroeunitedway.org/.

Contact Patrick McGerr at [email protected], 812-345-7559, or follow @patrickmcgerr on Twitter.

The crowd listens to United Way Executive Director Efrat Feferman as the Monroe County United Way fundraising campaign kicks off outside the Mill on Thursday.


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