December 20, 2013

It’s not about CHARITY. It’s about CHANGE.

 It’s not about charity. It’s about change.

The end of the year is upon us and it has been another outstanding 12 months in Cass and Clay Counties. Among the accolades, Forbes magazine ranks the Fargo-Moorhead Area as #2 in the nation for best small places for business and careers and #5 in job growth. Our region ranks #6 in the nation for personal income growth with an increase of 8.3% in the last year. All of this good fortune—the product of hard work—gives us an opportunity to ensure these economic gains can last long into the future.  United Way of Cass-Clay is committed to making this happen by utilizing your investments to support local children and families. 

United Way of Cass-Clay builds partnerships with our community’s nonprofit organizations that not only help people in need, but produce economic value for the future. We invest in education, promoting financial stability, and improving health outcomes because we know it will ensure that our community’s children and families have access to the tools they need to find pathways up from poverty.

That’s why we are intentional about using the word “investing” rather than phrases like “giving to charity.” 

In 2014, United Way of Cass-Clay plans to invest a significant amount of resources in programs that focus on high quality early childhood education. Why? We know the returns on these investments can exceed the positive gains made by the stock market in the post-World War II era. Over time, these programs increase personal income, reduce usage of public benefits, and promote safety in our community. Don’t take United Way’s word for it. Review the research conducted separately by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and Nobel Laureate and University of Chicago economist James J. Heckman who confirm that the results of investments in early childhood education are real.

When you give to United Way of Cass-Clay, you should expect a return on your investment. One great example is an investment we have made in local first time expectant mothers—a child’s earliest opportunity to succeed. Of the mothers enrolled in the Fargo Cass Nurse-Family Partnership Program, 21% stopped smoking and 56% experienced a decrease in violence in the home while pregnant. In addition, by their child’s first birthday, 81% were working, up from 65% a year earlier.

Because of the partnership between United Way of Cass-Clay and this program, those families and our community will have a brighter future. Equally valuable, these children and their mothers can expect higher lifetime earnings, better health, and lower use of public assistance over time. When these families gain, we all win.

At United Way of Cass-Clay we believe the dollars we raise for education, income stability, and health aren’t charity—they are investments in the economic development of our entire region - impacting the future of every individual in our community. At a time when our area has thousands of more jobs than workers, we need every available person to be prepared with the skills our employers need to maintain our position as a national leader in economic growth. 

To do that, United Way of Cass-Clay leverages your contribution in your workplace campaign or online donation to give our nonprofit partners the tools they need to track progress, results and improve upon the value they already create in the community.  Join us in strategically preparing our community for success.

Think about your donations to nonprofits as investments in our future and expect results. Thank you for giving to United Way of Cass-Clay! 

-Sherri Thomsen, United Way of Cass-Clay President

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