It’s that time of the year again where we need to think about helping others — not because the Valley’s United Way organizations kicked off their annual workplace campaigns last week, but because it’s always that time of year.
In Mesa, deep cuts in the city budget hit grants to local social service agencies. When Mesa United Way launched its successful “emergency” campaign earlier this year to help close those financial gaps, they made it clear it wouldn’t be a permanent fix.
Making good on their word, its board of directors set a 2006 campaign goal of $5.25 million, or 10 percent above last year’s total once the emergency funding is taken into account. That sounds like a lot, but if every individual gives just a little bit more, they can make a huge difference in the lives of needy Mesans.
On a larger scale, the Valley of the Sun United Way also has set a lofty goal, citing the continued needs of battered women and children among the many populations served by its Results That Matter community action plan.
For the first time its goal has been set at more than $50 million; last year Valley residents turned to programs funded by this United Way more than 10 million times.
These two United Ways take separate approaches to serving their communities; one is based on local control, the other on channeling significant amounts of money across a vast geographic area to maximize efficiency as well as service to those who need it.
Chances are good that most residents will be approached by representatives of one United Way or the other in the coming weeks, and we hope that you will keep in mind not only the cause you hold closest to your heart, but also setting aside some “unrestricted dollars” (for the Community Care fund in Mesa, or Results that Matter for Valley of the Sun) that can be spent where they’re most needed, often on worthy causes that don’t carry the same emotional punch of a child in need or a cancer victim fighting for his or her life.