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A Charlottesville Nonprofit's New Years Eve Reflections

It is December 31 and United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area seems to be one of the few local nonprofits that is open this week. We have had people walk in looking for a source of food and many callers needing help with utility bills, health issues, and more.

We have also had people walk in to give us donations, both for the Santa Fund and for the United Way. The staff members who are in this week are using the time to get caught up, clean up and prepare for January initiatives.

January is National Mentoring Month, and we are once again partnering with MichieHamlett Attorneys at Law, NBC29, Monticello Media radio stations, The Daily Progress and the Omni Hotel  for a month-long awareness campaign of the need for mentors and tutors for our at-risk kids. On January 27 we are holding our third annual Mentor. Tutor. Pass it on! volunteer recruitment fair, with 14 local nonprofits that work with kids participating.

January is also the month when people receive their W-2 forms from their employers and start filing their taxes. That means that the Thomas Jefferson Area Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition has been gearing up all month to begin offering free tax preparation services beginning January 12. Beginning next week we are offering employer workshops through the Fluvanna, Greene and Louisa County Chambers of Commerce. We have also been preparing awareness campaigns to alert people about the free tax preparation services.

Although the Santa Fund, our partnership with The Daily Progress and WINA, is associated with Christmas, the funds raised actually help local school kids all year long, AND the fundraising campaign runs through mid-January. All the school systems report increased numbers of kids needing assistance this year.

We are looking forward to a 2011 in which donors continue to be generous so that we are able to provide services that are so demonstrably needed, and also to be able to meet the grant requests from local nonprofit programs that are proven, well-run and effective at meeting health and human service needs.

The new year will still require local nonprofits to run lean budgets and critically assess their programs in terms of effectiveness and local need. Collaborations and partnerships  should be encouraged and boards should be fully engaged in providing expertise and guidance.

Who will receive our United Way Student Service Awards in 2011? What do we have up our sleeve for our fifth annual United Way Nonprofit Awards of Excellence, and who will be recognized for outstanding leadership and business acumen in the nonprofit sector?

And finally, 2011 is the 20th anniversary of the United Way Laurence E. Richardson Day of Caring. We’ll have a new leader of our Volunteer Center who we will support, encourage and nurture in this important role, in which the Day of Caring is merely the most visible responsibility.

We look forward to the challenges and anticipate the successes of 2011. With your help, we can continue to strengthen our community.

Wishing all a healthy, stable and encouraging 2011.


Posted by Kim Connolly

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