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 education, income, and health.
- 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:
The present day Community Council is the social planning division of River Region United Way,
In the Montgomery, Alabama of 1934, the Charity and Welfare Council took on the role of fund raising 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.
The Council embarked on one of the most comprehensive needs assessments in the history of the River Region, including Lowndes and Macon counties, in 2003. More than 80,000 surveys were printed and distributed as part of a tabloid via local newspapers. A total of 861 survey responses were returned, providing United Way volunteers with a valid "snapshot" of the resident's concerns about social problems.
The Community Council has just completed the 2013 Community Needs Assessment to identify the most pressing social issues and expose any gaps in the delivery of programs and services. 917 respondents shared their views "online" and the data from that survey is being analyzed now for distribution in the Summer of 2013.
For over 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 40 plus other different 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 the 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 community we shape – that is how your United Way operates, creating lasting change in the River Region.
National Football League
The River Region United Way takes every advantage to utilize our national partnership between United Way and the National Football League. NFL Back to Football Friday and Play 60 Events are just a few ways we can encourage kids to get active, play for at least sixty minutes each day and fight childhood obesity.
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, peopl e 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.
In 2010, River Region United Way and HandsOn River Region (just one of the 40 plus affiliate agencies United Way serves) partnered to bring 2-1-1, 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.
According to the national site 211us.org, 2-1-1 serves over 260 million Americans - over 86.6% of the US population - covering all 50 States plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.
Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD)
VOAD is the Model for Uniting the Montgomery Area Community into Effective Disaster Response and Recovery. Using four basic principles:
VOAD assures that Volunteers are the first to arrive.....and the last to leave a crisis.
A constant reminder that when we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all.