A recent news story trumpeted the fact that the United Way was offering free tax preparation. We love positive media attention for our good work, but in this case, we cringed a little. You see, the free tax preparation work is being done by a local coalition of agencies, government and businesses [Thomas Jefferson Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Coalition], not just the United Way. We wrote the grant that enabled us to hire a coordinator for the efforts of the coalition and its volunteers, but we like to celebrate the fact that it is a group effort to have 12 different tax preparation sites in 5 localities.
The best nonprofits know that the most effective way to tackle a problem is to partner with other agencies in the community. By combining resources and sharing expertise, we can create positive change. That is why JABA has an intergenerational program with a preschool. Both the seniors and the kids benefit from their interaction with each other.
Creciendo Juntos is a coalition of over 100 entities who work with the local Latino population. They share information and put on workshops to help bridge the cultural gap.
Smart Beginnings is a terrific example of a community-wide collaboration of agencies, schools and businesses all working together to help children be ready for school. The Child Care Quality Program at CYFS helps child care providers offer better programs for children. SNL Financial provides expertise in leading a study on local school readiness. The Arc of the Piedmont’s early developmental screenings of toddlers helps identify children with developmental delays and results in early intervention to help children before they get to school. And on and on, as there are 15 local partners in Smart Beginnings. Once again, the United Way wrote and received the grant on behalf of the local Partnership for Children, and hired and houses the Smart Beginnings director.
The United Way’s RxRelief Prescription Assistance Program is another example of a grant-driven program housed here at the United Way. In this case, our Medication Assistance Caseworker spends time each day at the Charlottesville Free Clinic and Region Ten, plus taking applications for Martha Jefferson Hospital satellite locations, signing up patients with chronic conditions to receive free prescriptions. Our partners benefit from having the ability to offer this service to their patients, without having to hire another employee, and local uninsured residents have access to free prescriptions from pharmaceutical companies. Win - win!
Our community benefits when nonprofits work together for common goals. Ask your favorite nonprofit to tell you how they partner with others to share expertise and resources to improve lives.
Posted by Jon Nafziger.
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