NMC Commentary

Is The United Way A Valued Partner?

Yes!  The United Way of Northwest Vermont is a long-standing valued partner in efforts to improve the quality of life in our community.  They serve the communities of Franklin County, Grand Isle County, and Chittenden County with a strategic focus on advancing employment, promoting mental health, supporting families, meeting basic needs, and reducing substance abuse. During the week of September 16, NMC will be conducting our internal campaign of employee giving to help support the important work of the United Way of Northwest Vermont. As a major employer in the region with a devotion to a healthier future for everyone, NMC also provides funding to the local United Way to help them take on challenges which are beyond our scope of expertise yet a huge complement to what we do in the community.

The United Way seeks to be innovative and responsive to community needs.  They take the time to hold community conversations and collect data to assess our community’s current state.  This includes meetings with NMC staff and use of our Community Health Needs Assessment – the priorities in which align well with the focus of the United Way.

When they speak of advancing employment, they are focused on “advancing financial stability through job training, skills development, access to resources, and work place innovations that help people get to work, stay at work, and succeed at work.” Those are key steps towards establishing a foundation of better quality of life. ‘Step Into Work – employment readiness for women’ through Vermont Works for Women and ‘Career Connections & Project Hire’ through the Howard Center are two programs funded by the United Way to advance employment.

The United Way is “promoting mental health through prevention, focusing on wellness and resilience as well as ensuring access to mental health treatment, crisis services and other supports.”  Grand Isle County Mentoring, Watershed Mentoring of Franklin County Caring Communities and programs of both the Howard Center and Spectrum Youth & Family Services all benefit from United Way support.

For their work to help families, the United way emphasizes “supporting the functioning and well-being of families of all ages, through building skills, knowledge, support, or access to resources.  The ‘Nurturing Parent Program’ of Prevent Child Abuse Vermont and the Adult Day program of Care Partners are two of many family-focused programs supported by the United Way.

To address basic needs of individuals, the United Way supports a wide variety of initiatives to address housing issues, food insecurity, transportation, and healthcare. The Samaritan House; C.I.D.E.R.’s (Champlain Islanders Developing Essential Resources) Neighbor Meals program and transportation services; Northwest Family Foods of Franklin Grand Isle Community Action; and services of the Visiting Nurses Association (which cares for Grand Isle County) all benefit from funding from the United Way.

The United Way also plays a role in reducing substance abuse by “developing assets and promoting resilience” as well as “eliminating barriers to treatment and supporting recovery.” Turning Point of Franklin County and the Howard Center are local partners who are supported by the United Way.

Northwestern Vermont is known statewide for our strong sense of community and our commitment to collaboration. The work needed to achieve a healthier future for all is bigger than any one organization. The United Way of Northwestern Vermont is making a collective impact with a common purpose.  It is worth a few minutes to learn more about this important local partner by visiting their website at www.unitedwaynwvt.org/ .   There is nothing more important than taking care of our communities of Franklin and Grand Isle together.

— Jill Berry Bowen, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer