Nearly nine months ago, I had the honor and privilege of becoming the President and CEO of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette (UWCW). In those early months, it was a priority to meet with our stakeholders including individual donors, corporate partners, nonprofit leaders, government officials and foundation partners in communities across our four counties. In connecting with them, I heard about significant social issues and challenging opportunities to tackle across our region.
Then COVID-19 changed our world.
Even before the global pandemic, 1 in 3 families in our region was unable to pay for basic needs. As physical distancing and quarantine became the new normal, and businesses shut their doors and laid-off workers, we heard from families and organizations that social service systems were overwhelmed.
We knew we had to act quickly in response to the crisis.
For 100 years, your local United Way has been the place where our region joins together to help one another. No matter the crisis, we have always remained steadfast to our commitment to LIVE UNITED and take care of our community.
We called upon you to help mobilize a community safety net. Through an incredible outpouring of generosity from community members alongside corporate as well as foundation partners, we raised over half a million dollars to support our region’s most vulnerable during this unprecedented time. Thanks to you, we could fund immediate community relief efforts through our nonprofit partners on the ground.
In the midst of the pandemic, thousands of families are also grappling with devastating loss due to the wildfires in our region. Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones, homes, businesses and communities to these catastrophic fires.
I am very grateful for the generosity of our individual donors, corporate and foundation partners who once again came together for our community, by donating to United Way’s Wildfire Response and Recovery Fund. In addition to providing immediate relief assistance to families of color and low income families affected by the wildfires, funds raised will also go toward supporting longer term recovery needs.
Moreover, the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on communities of color and ongoing injustices against Black people have further exposed the underlying structural racism and inequity that still exist in our country.
Equity is achieved when systemic, institutional and historical barriers based on race, gender, sexual orientation and other identities are dismantled and no longer predict socioeconomic, education and health outcomes.
At United Way, racial equity is at the center of our mission and work in the community. We are:
We are beginning to understand the long-term economic impacts of COVID-19, and it is clear that there is no going back to "normal”, especially when what we had before was failing our families and kids of color.
As we shift from immediate relief to focusing on long-term recovery efforts, we need to reimagine new systems that result in more resilient communities. We know that housing stability is a key contributor to family resiliency. Moving into the next year, we will explore opportunities to increase our support for housing stability so that our region’s kids are free to learn, grow and reach their potential.
We are all in this together, and together we will build not only a path toward resiliency but a more inclusive and equitable region where all families have the resources and opportunities to thrive.
In light of COVID-19, we’re adjusting how we go about our work including presenting an entirely digital annual report this year. I hope you enjoy this interactive version and seeing the impact you made possible.
Cindy Adams, President and CEO
United Way of the Columbia-Willamette
We are pleased to support United Way’s work in our community through our matching gift. What stands out to me most is the strong desire of our community partners, volunteers, and donors, to give of themselves generously and to offer their resources to those in need. United Way brings all of them together to create change in our region and make it a better place for everyone.
I support United Way because it creates a significant impact in my community. Every day, I recognize that there are individuals and families who do not have enough food or cannot pay their bills. United Way works to support community partners to provide these services which positively impact underserved individuals and families. I am glad to know that I am part of that.
Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon has been a proud supporter of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette and active participant in the annual MLK Weekend of Service for many years. Driven by a shared dedication to break the cycle of poverty and address the social determinants that affect the health of our communities, we are making Oregon a better place to work, play and live.
The impacts of COVID-19 have been significant for many individuals and families in Oregon and across the country. The needs are great and we are working with and through our community partners like United Way to assist with relief and recovery efforts. Our ongoing support of United Way is one of the ways we are working to address the longer-term impacts of this pandemic. United Way’s commitment to issues like affordable housing is critical and the organization continues to have tremendous impact on closing the social and economic gaps in our communities.
|* Includes investment revenue, fee for service and miscellaneous|
Based on the 2018–2019 IRS Form 990
Our financial information