Across every glimpse of our community, across landscapes and lives—24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year—River Region United Way is at work helping make this a better place to live.
Picture our River Region and what do you see? Bricks and mortar perhaps, but inside the buildings and homes, throughout neighborhoods and businesses, along every street or sidewalk, behind every scene—in classrooms, at Biscuits games, in workplaces—there’s much more than meets the eye. You find lives made better by those around them. Lives made better by programs funded through the generosity of their neighbors. Lives enriched as a result of participation in United Way.
Why We Work
- River Region United Way works to identify the needs in the community, recognizing that most needs are complex and require multiple solutions, and we help agencies put in place the programs to meet those needs.
- We ask “why not?” when we see potential for improvement and find ways to help build a better community.
- We gather and distribute charitable resources—gifts of energy and gifts of means—with focus that encourages organized and efficient use of all gifts to leverage extraordinary results.
- We partner with agencies which bring extraordinary expertise and understanding to meet needs in areas of health, education, financial stability and basic needs.
- We help put in place the tools to address the things that can help make lives better today and tomorrow. We work to help real people like:
Community Needs Assessment
The present day Community Impact Council is the division of River Region United Way responsible for carrying out community needs assessments.
In the Montgomery, Alabama of 1934, the Charity and Welfare Council took on the role of fundraising by spearheading a unified campaign to consolidate philanthropic giving under a central banner rather than individualistic drives at an agency level. In 1937, the Coordination of Community Services was doing a similar work among service providers to reduce duplication and coordinate efforts amongst the public. By 1951, these two groups merged and created an integrated effort to not only provide financial assistance but to help identify the most pressing needs within our community and strategies for prevention and cure of community problems.
By 1952, the "Community Council" had become the most objective body in Montgomery for studying community ills and then applying a proper plan and organization to meet those identified problems.
Fast forward to 2017 and 2018, when the Community Impact Council completed Community Needs Assessments for Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes and Macon counties to identify the most pressing social issues and expose any gaps in the delivery of programs and services. Most recently, the Council completed its Community Needs Assessment for Montgomery County in the fall of 2019.
For more than 60 years, the Community Council has taken on projects and studies that have led to major advancements in the care of the mentally challenged, those affected by disaster and the elderly.
Their wisdom and forward thinking permitted them to embrace the role of “community problem solver" and has left an indelible imprint on the social fabric of our community.
How We Work
When people think of United Way, the first thing that comes to mind is fundraising. In fact, when you ask people what their top five favorite charities are, their response might be 1. Red Cross, 2. American Cancer Society, 3. Heart Association, 4. Easter Seals, and 5. United Way — not necessarily in that order. What people don’t realize is that your United Way plays a fundamental role in each of the four charities listed above and more than 40 other agencies as well.
But raising money to help these affiliate agencies is only a strategy for United Way, not our mission. We are in the business of impacting communities in our five-county River Region. It isn’t how many individuals we serve, nor is it how many programs we create. Our measure of success is in the lives we change and the communities we shape – that is how your United Way operates, creating lasting change in the River Region.
Working in Partnership
HandsOn River Region
Every hour of every day, someone in the River Region needs essential services--from finding substance abuse assistance to securing adequate care for a child or an aging parent. Faced with a dramatic increase in the number of agencies and help lines, people often don't know where to turn. In many cases, people end up going without these necessary and readily available services because they do not know where to start.
River Region United Way and HandsOn River Region (just one of 40+ affiliate agencies United Way serves) partnered to bring 211, a national help-line program, to the River Region. Customized for the community, this service provides callers with information about and referrals to human services for everyday needs and in times of crisis — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Nationally, 211 serves over 260 million Americans - over 86.6% of the US population - covering all 50 States plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Locally, you can call 211 or visit 211 Connects Alabamaonline.
A constant reminder that when we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all.