By Kevin Wilhelm
It’s the time of year I get to announce that Middlesex United Way’s Board of Directors has approved the distribution of $775,000 to support programs and initiatives in Middlesex County. This funding includes support to 45 programs, plus $13,950 for United Way 2-1-1.
Funding will be distributed to programs in Middlesex County in the following amounts: $127,600 in the area of education, to increase children’s readiness to learn by school entry; $52,828 in the area of income, to increase the economic self-sufficiency of individuals and families; $468,621 in the area of health, to reduce the rate of risky behaviors among youth and adults and improve the health and increase the safety of individuals and families: and $112,403 in the area of housing, to increase the ability of individuals and families to attain affordable housing.
We’ve also invested $13,741 in United Way 2-1-1, a 24-hour information and referral helpline that is available free of charge to anyone in Connecticut. 2-1-1 is a partnership between Connecticut United Ways and the State of Connecticut. To reach this service, simply dial 2-1-1 from any phone or visit 211ct.org.
A one-time grant of $1,000 was also approved for the Middletown Youth Summer Employment Program.
In addition, $94,649 will be directed to nonprofits and other United Ways outside of the county, as requested by donors. Dollars raised locally stay here in Middlesex County to benefit local programs and initiatives, unless directed differently by the donor.
None of these investments would be possible without the support of the donors and workplaces that support this great work. We are very grateful to those who supported our campaign for ALICE in June as well, ensuring that the programs that support those at or below the ALICE threshold continue to receive funding.
We’d also like to thank the teams of volunteers who make funding decisions and visit and evaluate all of the funded programs. We rely greatly on the hard work of these teams.
Middlesex United Way works in the areas of education, income, health and housing because we need all four for families and communities to be successful. We need a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family, good health, and a safe, decent and affordable place to live.
To improve community conditions, we have to address the root causes of community problems and invest in long-term solutions that can prevent problems from happening in the first place. That means investing more in prevention-based programs.
In the area of education, our school readiness initiative is working with school systems, early childcare providers, and parents throughout Middlesex County to identify and assist our youngest children who have social and emotional problems before they enter school. We support programs that assist young children to become school ready and also educate their parents about the important role they play in their child's earliest years.
In the area of income, we work with partners who provide basic needs as well as employment training supports and services.
In the area of health, we partner with Youth and Family Service organizations in Middlesex County to implement the Healthy Communities-Healthy Youth assets model in their towns. The approach increases young people's participation in their local communities and reduces high-risk behaviors, especially the use of drugs and alcohol.
We are also ensuring the availably of mental health services, counseling, substance abuse services, sexual assault crisis services, programs that support adults with disabilities, and services to assist seniors so they may continue living at home.
In the area of housing, we support transitional housing and other programs throughout the county that help families acquire decent, safe and affordable housing and the skills necessary to maintain it long-term. We are actively involved in the Middlesex County Coalition on Housing & Homelessness which is working to implement the Middlesex County Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness.
We are proud to partner with so many wonderful programs that are making Middlesex County even greater.
Thank you to all our partners, advocate, donors and volunteers.