United Way makes charitable contributions easy

United Way makes charitable contributions easy

In this modern age, giving is easier than ever, and people who have the desire to donate have a lot of choices. The United Way of Beaumont and North Jefferson County is one of those choices, and the reasons to give to the non-profit entity are considerable.

In 2008, the United Way Worldwide began a 10-year program designed to reach certain goals. One of those goals is to improve education by cutting high school dropout rates in half from an estimated 1.2 million by 2018. Another of the entity’s far-reaching objectives is to assist 1.9 mil- lion low-income families on their quest for financial independence and stability. The United Way program is also intending to promote healthy lifestyles and increase by one-third the number of youth and adults who are healthy and avoid risky behaviors, according to the United Way website. President and CEO of the United Way of Beaumont and North Jefferson County Karen Hawkins said givers want to know where their money is going, and with advanced technology readily available, they are doing their research.

“The younger generation is not just going to give to the same charities their parents did,” Hawkins assessed. “They can get out and research. They can set up deductions from their checking account just like with online bill pay. They want to know what good is going to come out of their donations.”

The United Way was founded in 1887 when a Denver priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. The Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J.O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman “put their heads together,” according to United Way history, to plan the first united campaign for 10 health and welfare agencies. Locally, a group of community leaders organized the Beaumont Community Chest in 1925 as a vehicle to help local citizens in need. The name was changed to United Appeals in 1952 and, in 1979, the organization became United Way of Beaumont and North Jefferson County. As a volunteer- based organization, local volunteers run the organization, and local volunteers help raise funds and make decisions related to the distribution of funds. The money raised comes from donors who live and work in the community, and the money stays local to make Southeast Texas a stronger community by helping its neighbors in need.

While the United Way receives the majority of its donations from payroll deductions — between 85 to 87 percent, Hawkins estimates — funding from other sources increases the non-profit’s giving capacity and reach in the community. More money received translates into more charitable opportunities to the numerous beneficiaries of United Way funding. The United Way’s convenient location at 700 North St., Suite H in downtown Beaumont provides philanthropists an opportunity to give in person, but parties interested in donating can even do so from the comfort of their homes. With a phone call or a click of the mouse, giving couldn’t be simpler. Stop by 700 North St. in Beaumont, call (409) 835-4575 or visit the United Way of Beaumont and North Jefferson County website at www. uwbmt.org to donate or for information about the United Way. Anyone interested can also find out how to start a company campaign for their workplace at the website.