Redefining The Way - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Redefining The Way

For 93 years the North Texas Area United Way has been helping fund non-profits and making a difference in your community. 
Over the last almost decade, how and who they fund, has changed based on what the community says it needs. 
In other words, it's not your grandfather's United Way any more. 
For the last decade the United Way has done community studies. Those are done to determine what areas the community feels need the most help. It was something North Texas Area United Way CEO Gregory Shannon said was what donors wanted. 
"The donors' response was we kept giving money to United Way for all these different organizations, but what it's really doing? Is it really making any change? When United Way looked at that, and studied that very closely, the understanding was we really wanted to make steady long lasting changes within the community," said Shannon. 
Thus the 3 areas of education, income and health were born. As the "Power of 1" campaign is getting close to kicking off, a dozen agencies are tabbed for United Way funding this year. A focused attack is the goal of the United Way. Instead of it being a broad pass through funding organization, that raises money and hands it out with no accountability. They want to know change is happening.  
"The only way to do that," says Shannon, "was for us to receive back from the organizations. Their accomplishments in what they were doing and the lives that were being changed. The whole point of community impact is getting to the root cause of the problem. It's not just putting band aids on to try and stop the bleeding. We want to get to what the cause of that is."
From educational goals that start at birth, to classes that help wage earners get promotions. To keeping seniors healthy with meals on wheels. Even helping flood victims get on and stay on their feet. It's an organization that has changed, but not entirely. 
"The one thing we haven't changed is that when you give to the United Way, we can guarantee that your dollar will work as hard as you did to earn it. So, every dollar that you give to the United Way goes back into the community and it actually works to make lives better here," said Shannon. 
Something else new this year on the donation form, donors can signify if you want your money going to a specific agency, or the general fund to help them. It's all in hopes of making a major impact on the 11 counties the North Texas Area United Way serves.

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