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Monday, 11 September 2017 15:11

AmeriCorps Member Sought to Support Community Coordination Efforts

Terre Haute, IN – The United Way of the Wabash Valley is participating in United Against Opioid Abuse, a three-year statewide effort to gather information acabout each community’s resources and needs to prevent opioid abuse and to support those in recovery. The United Way will host a specially trained AmeriCorps member who will coordinate a local landscape scan about the extent of the opioid issue locally, and help document what efforts are currently in place to combat the problem. Results will include a local asset map that will assist local anti-drug coalitions to prioritize needed areas for collaboration or highlight needs for additional programs and services.

“United Way of the Wabash Valley fights for the health, education and financial stability of every individual in the community,” said Executive Director, Richard Payonk. “In our Community Conversations with people across all walks of life, we’re hearing that the opioid issue is a major concern. We wanted to get involved to mobilize the community to help our neighbors whose lives are affected by this very difficult problem.”

Indiana deaths due to opioid overdose and poisoning now outnumber deaths from car accidents. As of 2014, Indiana became 15th nationwide for drug overdose fatalities, according to the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. United Against Opioid Abuse is a three-year Federal grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service under a new opportunity, Healthy Futures: Reducing and/or Preventing Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse. The statewide project is administered by Indiana United Ways with support from Serve Indiana, a division of the Department of Workforce Development.

United Way of the Wabash Valley is seeking applicants with the skills and interest to serve the community for a year in AmeriCorps, a branch of National Service. AmeriCorps members receive a modest living allowance, health insurance, a Segal Education Award, and other benefits. Extensive professional development is provided. The project will begin October 2 and the link for application is below.


Last Updated on Monday, 11 September 2017 15:22
Early Childhood Literacy Project Grant PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 28 July 2017 14:34

success-by-six-grantThe goal of the Success By 6 Grant Program for Early Childhood Literacy Projects is to provide funding to early childhood educators and 

child care providers for the purpose of conducting an experience that will nurture a love for reading and learning in young children (0 – 5) and their families.

Project applications will be reviewed and awarded by a panel of early education and literacy professionals.

Applications must be received no later than 5 PM, November 17, 2017.

The literacy experience must include activities that focus around a book(s).

Each child is to receive a copy of a book related to the activity.

Parent/family activities should be included in the project. The parent(s)/family may be included in the event, or at the very least the applicant needs to provide details of how they will encourage literacy activities to be extended at home.

Detailed budget required.  Applicants may apply for up to $1,000.


Click Here For: Detailed Application Guidelines

Download the Grant Application here

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 August 2017 13:39
Real Men Read & ReadUnited! Seeking Volunteers PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 17 July 2017 15:17

real men read 4success-by-six-grantAre you looking to volunteer in our community?   Do you have a passion to see our children succeed?  Join our Real Men Read or ReadUnited! Programs.   

We bring adult mentors into kindergarten, preschool and child care facilities in the 6-county service area to read to students once a month for five months.  We ask that you be available to read to the same classroom for each session in order to form a bond with your students.   

Each child receives a copy of the book to take home, resulting in five new books in their home library.

This program encourages the student’s literacy skills and joy of reading, provides mentoring opportunities for adults with students, and gives students extra attention and positive role models who value education.

If you are interested in joining us this year please contact Mark Johnson at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 812-235-6287.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 August 2017 13:39
United Way Hosting Volunteer Account Manager Interest Meetings PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 June 2017 12:34

Join the Movement. United Way is recruiting people who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done.

United Way of the Wabash Valley is hosting multiple Lunch & Learn volunteer interest meetings for anyone that may be considering being an Account Manager volunteer on this year's Resource Drive.

CHANGE count you in 000Each fall, United Way of the Wabash Valley partners with individuals, local businesses and organizations to raise funds that will help our community to create a brighter future for everyone.  Our annual Resource Drive provides support to our community with a focus on the three basic building blocks for a better life: education, health, and community basics.  The programs and initiatives that our local United Way supports are vital to work towards the community's goals of helping everyone, who calls the Wabash Valley home, an opportunity to THRIVE.

Come and learn more about how the United Way is fighting for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community and how you can put your passion for helping to work.  By volunteering on this year's Resource Drive you will be helping our community grow stronger.

During lunch you will hear:

  • What the United Way of the Wabash Valley is doing and how they are working in our local community
  • Specifics on what is expected from volunteers and what the time commitment will be

How does this benefit you:

  • Network with local business leaders
  • Develop expanded leadership skills
  • Put your communication expertise to good use
  • Help your community at the same time!


Join us: Tuesday June 13th, Friday June 16th, or Monday June 19th

United Way of the Wabash Valley Office
100 S. 7th St., Terre Haute, IN 47807
12 noon- 1pm
Lunch will be provided


There are no strings attached.  If you feel moved to join us great.  If you decide this volunteer opportunity is not for you we least you got a lunch out of it right? 

Please RSVP to Danielle ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) to let us know if you plan to attend and learn more about this rewarding volunteer experience.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 June 2017 15:18
Spreading Our Local United Way’s Value Proposition PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 May 2017 12:45

Spreading Our Local United Way’s Value Proposition

Richard Payonk, Executive Director United Way of the Wabash Valley

RJP-Head-Shot-240x300Each Fall, our local community and thousands of others around the world are familiar with this thing we call “The United Way Campaign.”  Goals are set and announced; local businesses and individuals are asked to participate.  In the end, celebrations take place for reaching a goal.  A goal of raising money.   To me, it’s not the right goal.

Since last spring, when I retired from a long career in one of those same local businesses who supported the United Way and began work with the organization, I have learned much of the culture of our businesses and their attitude about our local United Way.  There is a wide gamut of responses from the business community, from enthusiastic support, to mediocre (almost resigned obligatory) interest, all the way to emphatically “not interested!”  I’m not surprised and am working daily to affect positive change, but that change must start with
our United Way.

Our mission is not to raise money

United Way’s strength over the years had been a strong partnership with local business employers in their community.  The ability to reach thousands of individuals with a message to “help your local community by
g” was a mainstay for resources for the organization from the 1970s up until the end of the millennia.  But a mantra and goal to “Raise Money!” in today’s world is not a compelling reason to give for any donor, nor is it a great value proposition for a local business.   Our experience supports this.  Just 10 years ago, our Wabash Valley United Way Campaign partnered with businesses and produced just under $2 million in corporate and employee donations.  Since then, we have suffered a steady decline, reaching a low point of just over $1.1 million in 2015.  Responsibility to turn this trend around lies with our United Way, not with local business.

Since I started over a year ago, our Board and staff have dedicated the organization to communicating our compelling mission.  We are trying to spend less time talking about “our campaign” and more time showing our value as community problem solvers.  We are more than the fundraisers.  We are the hand raisers. The game changers.  The-stop-talking-start-doing-band-together-and-take-on-the-impossible-task-masters.  Nationally, United Way touts that we fight for the education, health and financial stability of every person in every community.  More importantly, we are trying to renew our partnerships with businesses and their employees by demonstrating a clear value.

Spreading the word

So, how do you approach a local business and say… “You know what?  We haven’t always been a great partner.  But we are more than many people understand.  Could we please talk?”  This is the conversation that our local United Way is trying to have with hundreds of business leaders so that we can continue our work in the community.  Seems daunting, especially for a small organization with just a few good-hearted, hard-working employees.  But volunteers are at the core of all we do.  That is why we are once again seeking volunteers in our community who would like to work with us and help us approach our business community – one business at a time – and engage in conversations involving their community aspirations and how our United Way can help achieve them.

Last year, about 25 energized and engaged community volunteers helped us open the door to many local businesses to start these conversations.  When we spread a message of our mission and when these local businesses took the opportunity to hear what we do and the value we bring, then for the first time in 6 years, we saw renewed strength in our workplace partnerships and a slight tick upwards in the resources for our mission.

Being George Bailey

Oh, I suspect some reading this might already think, “Oh, I see, this is just fundraising disguised as something else.”  I have a different way of thinking about our work.  The greatest fundraising initiative I ever saw took place in the movie It’s A Wonderful Life.  In it, the unassuming hero to the community, George Bailey, is short $8,000 on a day the bank examiner has come calling.  Jail looks certain.  His wife Mary and business partner scatter to the streets going door-to-door with four simple words…George is in trouble.  A large part of the town came from their homes and emptied their pockets to donate without question.  It’s crazy!  Why would anyone do that?  But the answer is simple.  They all knew who George was, what he meant to them and their community.  They understood the value he had brought to the little town of Bedford Falls.

Perhaps it’s a pipe dream of mine, but our United Way must become George Bailey.  We have focused far too long on raising money and not on who we are, who we partner with, and our value to businesses and their employees.  This is the conversation that must continue and grow.

How to help

If just 25 volunteers achieved success in 2016 for the first time in 6 years, imagine what the work of 75 or 100 energized volunteers could do?  In mid-June, our United Way will host a series of Lunch & Learn Sessions to help potential volunteers decide if they might be interested in joining our work to approach local business partners.

If you have been a long time United Way supporter, or just want to help build your community, these sessions are a great, no-commitment way to learn more about how we can better spread our message of mission.  Business leaders can also take a first step by encouraging and/or allowing their employees to join this effort.  Please contact Danielle Isbell, Resource Development Director at our United Way, to hear more (d This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 812-235-6287).

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 May 2017 15:50

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