The United Way of Cullman County is in the middle of its annual giving campaign to raise money for the 19 nonprofits it supports, and welcomes donations from anyone looking to give back to their community during the holidays or at any time of the year.
Days like Giving Tuesday and the period of time around Thanksgiving and Christmas encourage people to try to support those in their communities who may be struggling and are in need of some kind of assistance, said UWCC Executive Director Becky Goff.
Fortunately, there are lots of nonprofits in Cullman County that do good work by focusing on different areas of need, such as homelessness, child abuse and hunger, and that can make it difficult for a person to decide where their donation should go, Goff said.
She said one benefit to donating to United Way is that the money will go to its partner agencies that all work to address needs in health, education or financial stability.
Goff said United Way receives calls every day from people who have lost everything in a house fire, or are having to live out of their car or are suffering from domestic abuse, and thanks to the financial support of the community, partner agencies are available to lend them a helping hand.
“It’s really difficult to isolate the most important one, and that’s really why United Way was formed,” she said. “They are all important and we support them through one gift when we give to United Way.”
United Way also keeps account of how its agencies are spending the funding they receive, and holds them accountable to make sure every dollar is going as far as possible, Goff said.
“I think that’s what sets us apart from some other nonprofits is that we make sure it’s being spent where it’s supposed to be spent, and we know how many people are getting help and how they’re getting helped,” she said.
Goff said employee contributions from local businesses have increased after a slow year last year due to the pandemic, but a few corporate decisions that were not made at the local level in some local companies have resulted in a decrease in their financial support, so donations from individuals are still very important.
“That is going to impact us,” she said.
One way that United Way is working to increase donations is by working to increase awareness of what the organization does for the community. One method of doing that is encouraging county residents to take part in the Citizens Review process, Goff said.
All of United Way’s funding decisions are made by community volunteers, and by participating in the Citizen Review process, volunteers can visit some of the partner agencies to get a first-hand look at what they are doing for the community and get a say in how United Way’s money is distributed among those agencies.
The review process takes place each January, and anyone interested in joining the process can call the United Way office at 256-739-2948 or email email@example.com.
While Giving Tuesday is a day when nonprofits’ needs get a brighter spotlight, those organizations rely on financial support from the other 364 days of the year as well, Goff said.
“Our nonprofits work year-round and we need donations yearly,” she said. “We are grateful for the one day of giving, but we really ask the community to remember us throughout the year and pitch in and help us generate resources to help our local nonprofits.
To donate to United Way of Cullman County at any time of the year, visit its website at uwaycc.org
Goff said United Way is also offering a special prize for one lucky donor who donates through a special contest with Golden Flake that ends on Dec. 17. The winner of the contest will receive a free year’s supply of Golden Flake chips. Donating $5 will pay for five entries into the contest, and increasing the donation will pay for even more entries.
To enter into the contest, visit go.rallyup.com/unitedgolden
United Way of Cullman County’s partner agencies, which benefit from donations to the organization, include:
- 4-H Clubs of Cullman County
- American Red Cross
- Commission on Aging
- Cullman Caring for Kids
- Cullman County Center for the Developmentally Disabled
- Foster Grandparents
- Girl Scouts
- Good Samaritan Health Clinic
- Hope Horses, Inc.
- Hospice of Cullman County
- Pilot Light House
- Victim Services
- Easter Seals
- Child Advocacy Center
- Committee on Church Cooperation
- North Alabama Agriplex
- Senior Companion Program
- Youth Advocate Program