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February 23, 2009

United Way in Challenging Times

The times continue to challenge us all and the United Way of Greater New Haven is not an exception. We have seen our modest reserves drop dramatically in value, we are concerned about our ability to collect on pledges and we have seen the continuing increase in demand for services throughout the entire region. These are the times that try our resolve and our patience---these are the times for leadership.

We have done much thinking and reflecting on how the United Way should respond to the challenges we now face and those we know we will face in the near future. We are hopeful and we believe we will arrive at a future that includes a vibrant and sustainable economy, broader participation in prosperity, a stronger sense of regional community and a dramatic increase in civic engagement. We also know that the current circumstances we have with economic and educational disparity do not support our achieving this vision. We have behaved our way into the conditions we find ourselves now experiencing and our only option is to behave our way out.

First, we need to provide some stability. Hundreds of citizens and dozens of leaders have made this stability their work. The leadership of Andy Eder and Boris Mizen with fundraising and the work of Kate McAvoy, Maria Mojica, Paula Crombie and volunteers from both United Way and The Jewish Federation in making wise and timely decisions on investments in emergency services have mobilized the whole region’s understanding of the crises many of our neighbors are experiencing.

Second, we must continue to work on the root causes of the region’s disparity. Early childhood education and development must remain an intense focus regardless of economic conditions because that is how we break the poverty cycle. Stable housing and skill development must be a commitment we keep because people need these in order to participate as fully engaged citizens.

We believe that now is the time for us all to live united. We will continue to provide opportunities for the citizens of Greater New Haven to give, to advocate and to volunteer. We believe these to be the behaviors that lead us to our vision of the future. We deeply appreciate your support.

Jack Healy
President and CEO
United Way of Greater New Haven

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