Empire Editorial: Strength in numbers and the Southeast Alaska way

Posted: Sunday, September 28, 2003

Southeast Alaskans are known for their hearty, resourceful, independent way of life. This part of the world offers unmatched vistas, ever-changing weather and character-building challenges not found anywhere else.

The region's small population is spread out over a magnificent expanse of geography. The rewards of living in Southeast Alaska are abundant for most. But for many, the things most of us take for granted such as the dignity that comes from being self-sufficient, or the simple pleasure of coming home to a safe, welcoming place, are made possible only through the kindness and generosity of others.

As the United Way of Southeast Alaska begins its annual fund-raising effort this week, it is a good time to take stock of the many blessings we share and consider the many ways that United Way brings out the strengths and caring nature of the people of Southeast Alaska.

The 31 partnering agencies of the United Way of Southeast Alaska form a "Network of Care" providing health and human services to people in need, enriching their lives through wellness, self-sufficiency, dignity and hope.

The United Way of Southeast Alaska is far more than a fund-raising organization; it serves as a neutral clearinghouse where diverse nonprofit groups can partner, collaborate and share knowledge and resources to achieve the maximum benefit to the communities they serve.

The United Way of Southeast Alaska is a very lean organization with extremely low overhead and returns nearly 90 percent of every dollar donated right back into the community and to the people in need of assistance.

Donations to United Way pay big dividends. Individual donations are pooled with money from businesses, grants and other sources to purchase already discounted goods and services. The generosity of donors is further extended by the thousands of hours of volunteer labor enabled through the agencies United Way supports.

The United Way of Southeast Alaska works very hard to provide solutions for the most important needs in Southeast Alaska, but donors always have the option to designate the organizations they wish to receive their contribution.

The campaign goal for this year is $625,000. Many health and social service programs are facing unprecedented shortfalls in funding while the number of people needing assistance is on the rise.

In Southeast Alaska when the call for help goes out, help is never further away than the nearest boat, airplane or neighbor. Your donation to United Way also can be the lifeline for someone in need.

For more information on how to contribute, watch this newspaper for details or contact: United Way of Southeast Alaska, 3100 Channel Dr. Juneau, AK 99801, or send an e-mail to: uwseak@acsalaska.net.

Don Smith



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