Rape crisis management and prevention. Justice for people who couldn’t otherwise afford it. Role models for kids who might not otherwise have them. These are just a few of the services Juneau would have to make do without, were it not for funding provided by the United Way of Southeast Alaska to its 40 partner agencies, including AWARE, Alaska Legal Services Corp. and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Right now, the United Way of Southeast Alaska (UWSEAK) is in the midst of its annual campaign to raise funds to support its mission, and we’re hopeful Juneauites will continue their previous generosity during this campaign season.
This year, the United Way is looking to expand its local donor base to 1,000 givers to help fund the nearly $500,000 in annual support UWSEAK gives to its partners. It may be easy to assume UWSEAK gets the bulk of its funding from companies and wealthy individuals, but in fact 75 percent of its annual contributions come from individual donors. Even giving $1 a week provides enough annual funding to provide 26 meals to seniors and three food baskets to families. That’s a tangible impact in our community that can be achieved with less money than you might pull out of the dryer in a week. And 99 cents of every dollar given remains in Southeast Alaska — making a gift truly a gift to the community.
There are several ways to give. Many of you might have received a pitch at work asking for participation in a payroll deduction plan. That option allows generosity without hassle, as the donations are made without having to mail a check or even set up an online payment program (though those are certainly options as well). The UWSEAK website, unitedwayseak.org, also has an online giving option. Emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and calls to the local office at 463-5530 work as well. For those that prefer the traditional way of doing things, donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 20249, Juneau, AK 99802. Finally, there’s always the Pick.Click.Give option available in a couple of months when it comes time to fill out applications for the Permanent Fund Dividend. Don’t forget, most donations can be a general gift, or targeted to a specific agency or program.
As we enter the time of year where we let our minds wander to what we should give our family and friends for the holidays, let’s take just a couple of minutes to see what gifts we can give to Juneau and its citizens who need them.