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Need to work together is nothing new

By Taylor Russo • Sep 19, 2018 at 12:00 PM

This is Campaign Kickoff Week for the Norwalk Area United Fund. This is the third in a series of articles highlighting the organization.

The need for working together is nothing new. It is true for all communities, especially small communities like ours.

Knowing this was true, the then director of our local CAC, started a program in 1986 called the InterAgency Council (IAC). It was her answer to community networking and information sharing so we could better work together to change lives and help families toward a successful future.

More than 30 years have passed since the program’s inception, but the mission still remains the same: “To promote a better understanding of available community programs, reduce duplication, identify gaps in services, and make the best use of area resources through communication, cooperation, and collaboration.”

IAC meets in person quarterly. Representatives, including volunteers, from local organizations and churches have an opportunity to hear about a specific local program and then have a chance to introduce themselves and share resources and information about what is currently being done in their organization.

In addition to the quarterly meetings, those who give us their email address receive emails twice a month to stay updated on area program changes, informational flyers and any requests for help to work together on a program, event or with a family who needs multiple resources. We have an email list of 416 at this time, would you like to be included?

IAC is just one example of how we try to continuously build relationships. The more aware we are of what our community has to offer the better we can improve the lives of our neighbors.

Strong relationships help us identify duplications or gaps in service, help us work with short and long term solutions for our clients, increase our efficiency and resources, saves time, and putting our donors gifts to best use.

Networking and information sharing is crucial for not only service organizations, but the community as a whole. This is especially important in a small town where we often see some of the same clients and share the same resources. We also offer our bi-monthly informational e-newsletter that currently has over 1000 subscribers. Please let us know if you would like to receive this.

Looking from the outside it may seem that local helping organizations (serving kids, health, educational opportunities, our seniors) are very different - but the reality is we all share a common goal - to help build stronger families and community.

As Jeff and Brett said on Monday, we seek to fund programs that enrich and improve lives, and are a wise investment in our community. Pat stated yesterday that we’ve challenged ourselves to identify, understand, and set a plan to address the changes in our community.

As a local community funder, working together is imperative. Help us in our effort to be good stewards. Help us be the bridge to change lives.

Taylor Russo is bridges and programs manager. The United Fund has kicked off its 142nd community campaign to raise donations for its annual funding cycle and community grants. They can reached at 419-668-0269 for more information.

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