For more than 64 years, the United Way of Iredell County has served our community. It’s invested more than $32 million in programs and services that directly help residents of Iredell County, improving their health, their financial stability and their education. It’s funded by the community, for the community. We trust our United Way. We know its leaders. We know the agencies it supports. We know the difference it makes.
People in Iredell County often talk about their county’s location – at the crossroads. It’s not just about highways. It speaks of dynamism and
change, of seeing the future and seizing opportunity. Our United Way is at a crossroads as well, and it, too, has been given an incredible opportunity to build a brighter future through an Endowment Fund. Governed locally, and imbued with Iredell County values, this fund will keep the United Way strong for years to come and help the organization keep promises to the citizens who rely on the programs and services it invests in.
The United Way of Iredell County began in 1954. Today, it supports 21 agencies through its annual campaign. This is still the most significant part of the United Way’s operations. The annual campaign has come under increasing pressure in recent years because of economic downturns, changes in the workforce and changes in philanthropic giving patterns. All United Ways are wrestling with this
issue. In Iredell County, while the current philanthropic patterns are encouraging, the annual campaign contributions are still much lower than they were a decade ago.
The needs have not gone away, and this places a premium on innovative solutions to community-wide issues. Along with its own campaign, the United Way of Iredell County also manages grants and collaboratively develops programs that allow new ways of delivering services to those in need. These include the Get Fit Iredell family wellness program, a new partnership to bring Dolly Parton’s
Imagination Library to Iredell County and, the 2-1-1 Information and Referral service.
The United Way has taken a more proactive approach, not just distributing funds but also researching and assessing community needs and then working with other agencies to devise solutions. That was the case with the Veteran’s House, which the United Way helped launch in
2016 with social-service agencies. This pivot is critical. It ensures that the United Way is being responsive to the community and that resources are going where the need is greatest and the return on investment is high.