With a mission to create a world in which all individuals and families can achieve their full potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives, United Way of North Idaho is continuing to lead the way in engaging community leaders in charitable giving campaigns to help advance the common good of our local communities.
Established in 1957 as the United Crusade organization so that more funds would remain here in North Idaho, United Way of North Idaho is a 501c3 nonprofit organization which invests in direct services and systems to strengthen the community, collaborating with community partners and connecting volunteers with their passions.
“Many people are familiar with the United Way model of providing opportunities to invest in local nonprofits through workplace contributions. But we do much more than that, too!” says Mark Tucker, executive director. “In order to be good stewards of community donations and make progress toward goals that improve our citizens’ quality of life, we must first understand the unique needs of our area. We engage citizen volunteers, partner agencies, research and community conversations to continually keep a pulse on what the most pressing issues are for North Idahoans.”
According to Keri Stark, director of community impact, volunteer councils of approximately 30 people with expertise in education, financial stability or health guide their grant investments, which are made in local not-for-profit agencies and schools through the Community Care Fund—pooled funds created through workplace contributions and corporate matches.
“We have developed and are currently implementing a data reporting framework that includes a limited, core set of indicators that measures and proactively conveys United Way’s aggregate impact,” she says. “This will show the shared return on investment to companies and donors, and provide meaningful data that illustrates the difference that we are making in education, financial stability and health.”
The United Way’s ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) project is a grassroots movement that seeks to redefine financial hardship by providing comprehensive, unbiased data to help inform policy solutions. The term ALICE was coined to shed light on those essential workers often overlooked by other economic indicators and policy discussions.
The local Community ALICE Task Force focuses on a range of system changes that both support ALICE in the short term and become more financially secure in the long term. Subgroups are currently working on solutions in childcare, financial education and housing/transportation. (Details can be found online by visiting UnitedWayofNorthIdaho.org/ALICE.)
“The most rewarding thing is recognizing and appreciating the connections among people in our community,” Keri says. “The thing that the ALICE report has shown is there isn’t ‘us and them’—it’s just us. We all have a stake in a healthy community. The organizational model of United Way is a good model—it works with all sectors to build strong communities.”
When it comes to the longevity of United Way North Idaho, Mark attributes its success to the North Idaho community, individuals at all levels, who have joined to live united whether by giving to the campaign, volunteering their time or advocating for important causes.
“We encourage volunteerism and network with businesses, community organizations and individuals to connect people with their volunteer passions,” he says. At United Way, they can connect you or your group with a great volunteer project, out at an agency site, on location at your business or even remotely. Call them to learn more!
United Way of North Idaho
501 East Lakeside Avenue, Suite 3
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814