United Way distributes nearly $2 million to area nonprofits

United Way distributes nearly $2 million to area nonprofits

United Way of Beaumont & North Jefferson County distributed nearly $2 million among 19 local partner agencies at an allocation award ceremony Tuesday, July 18, at the Foundation for Southeast Texas.

The money, raised during United Way’s annual campaign, comes from donors, individuals who live and work in the community, as well as corporate donors, said John Rollins, public relations/community impact director for the United Way of Beaumont & North Jefferson County.

“The purpose of the allocation award ceremony is to raise awareness and visibility about what we do here at United Way, and to showcase our local nonprofit partner agencies and the beneficial programs that they provide for the Beaumont and North Jefferson County area. It’s important for the community at large to realize that when you donate to United Way, the money is raised locally, and it stays local to make the Southeast Texas region a stronger community,” Rollins said. “It’s a win-win for all of us. This is nearly $2 million being distributed and invested right back into our community, helping with our mission to enhance the areas of health, education and financial stability. We are honored and humbled by the overwhelming generosity of our donors. Beaumont is filled with some truly giving individuals, and we couldn’t do what we do without the ongoing community support.”

Karyn Hawkins, president/CEO of the United Way of Beaumont & North Jefferson County, added, “The money we raise during our campaign … helps provide programming for agencies such as the Southeast Texas Food Bank, Nutrition & Services for Seniors, Boys’ Haven, Shorkey Center and many more. The continued support of our community is to be applauded as we celebrate the distribution of $1,945,000 to help support programs that provide much needed assistance in our area. United Way of Beaumont’s focus is on improving lives in this area.”

The allocated funds will benefit 37 programs of United Way of Beaumont & North Jefferson County’s 19 local nonprofit organizations in the Southeast Texas area for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

“I think everybody here today believes the same thing that I do: You roll up your sleeves and get things done,” said John Lee, United Way of Beaumont and North Jefferson County chair-elect, to the agency representatives gathered for the allocation ceremony. “If it weren’t for those of you sitting in this room, there’s a lot of things that would not be happening in this community. It takes a special kind of person, I think, to be in a position where they completely and totally give of themselves on a daily basis, and we are very, very proud to be able to assist in that.

“Those of us on the board firmly believe that we are to be good stewards of the money that is entrusted to us and that we are not going to allocate those dollars unless we feel like they are really going to make a difference, and all of the people sitting here today are sitting here because you’re doing just that. You’re making a heck of a difference in the community.”

The following agencies received checks: American Red Cross; Anayat House Inc.; Arc of Greater Beaumont; Boys’ Haven; Boy Scouts of America – Three Rivers Council; Capland Speech Therapy Center; Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas; Communities in Schools of Southeast Texas, Inc.; Family Services Counseling Center and Women & Children’s Shelter; Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council; Nutrition & Services for Seniors; Rape & Suicide Crisis Center of Southeast Texas Inc.; Salvation Army Corps and Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club; Samaritan Counseling Center; Shorkey Center; Southeast Texas Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse; Southeast Texas Family Resource Center; Southeast Texas Hospice Inc. and the Southeast Texas Food Bank.

“United Way invests in two of our core activities, our general food distribution through partner agencies in Beaumont and beyond, as well as our Backpack Program, which provides weekend food to elementary aged students in economically challenged neighborhoods,” said Dan Maher, executive director of the Southeast Texas Food Bank. “Both of these situations address the basic human need for food access, so we are grateful United Way and the Beaumont area’s support of United Way advance this work. To me, that investment shows that Southeast Texans recognize hunger is a challenging reality in our region, but that no one should be allowed to go hungry in a prosperous nation and region.”

Carolyn Fernandez, president/CEO of Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas, said United Way supports three of her nonprofit’s programs — Elijah’s Place, which offers grief support groups for children; Asset Building Case Management, which offers financial and homebuyer education classes, free income tax prep services, and more; and Emergency Assistance Services under the Disaster Response Program.

“The funds we receive from United Way are essential to sustaining these services to our community,” Fernandez said. “Catholic Charities serves nine counties and so we do our best to share resources across all of those counties. But the funding from United Way will stay right here in Beaumont, which is really critical because the majority of the requests we receive for help comes from residents of Beaumont. We are extremely grateful to United Way and all those who have supported the campaign.”