LETTER- She 'Brazenly' misrepresented our United Way

I have finally stopped banging my head against the wall long enough to write about the November 12 Brazen Careerist column. Penelope Trunk perpetuated an outmoded view of how individual United Ways work.

She refers to a 30-year-old business model of being solely a fundraising entity. That is only half of what United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area does. We have a history of responding to unmet needs.

Our Child Care Scholarship Program has provided partial scholarships for thousands of children since 1975, allowing low-income parents to maintain employment and their children to be in stable child care settings.

More than 3,300 local children now have health insurance thanks to the outreach of our Children's Health Insurance Program. Many thousands more kids have received vouchers for clothing, glasses, medicine, and other essentials through another one of our partnerships, The Santa Fund. Since 2007, our Medication Assistance Caseworker has helped 513 low income, uninsured people from five counties receive $1.82 million in free prescriptions from pharmaceutical companies for such chronic conditions as diabetes, heart disease, and mental illness.

Our Volunteer Center connects volunteers with nearly 200 nonprofit agencies and schools, and this September, the United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring, with 2,500 hard-working volunteers, in one day generated 14,000 hours of labor for nonprofits and schools valued at nearly $300,000.

These are just a few examples. I wish the columnist had done her homework before making such sweeping generalizations and misrepresentations based on old history, and then publishing it in a nationally syndicated column.

 Our many programs, partnerships, and initiatives have been integral parts of our community for more than 65 years, and the donations are leveraged to return an additional $2 million back in to our community. Now that is a smart investment!

Kim Connolly
Director of Marketing & Communications
United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area