United Way and labor have worked hand-in-hand for decades.
Today, with the United Way’s annual fundraising campaign under way, and the St. Louis United Way working on a new strategic plan, officials are reaching out to labor to develop programs and policies that can be a catalyst for community change.
Orvin Kimbrough, executive director of the United Way of Greater St. Louis visited with delegates of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council last week to outline the agency’s goals and ask for labor’s support.
“Our relationship with labor dates back to the 1940s,” Kimbrough said. “When you look at our value to the community, our values are your values, particularly the understanding that ‘An injury to one is an injury to all.’ ”
HELPS 1 IN 3
This year’s campaign goal is $72.5 million.
In Missouri, the United Way provides assistance to individuals and organizations in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, St. Charles, Jefferson, Franklin, Warren, and Lincoln counties.
In Illinois, the agency provides assistance in Calhoun, Green, Macoupin, Jersey, Madison, Clinton, St. Clair, Monroe and Randolph counties.
Last year, more than 150,000 people and 2,600 businesses donated to United Way, raising more than $72.25 million.
Individuals may pledge a donation by calling 314-421-0700 or visiting www.stl.unitedway.org.
CATALYST FOR CHANGE
Kimbrough said the goal of the new strategic plan and this year’s fund raising campaign is to help the United Way be a catalyst to help people live their best possible lives by:
• Efficiently raising and allocating funds to support a strong network of quality agencies and services;
• Providing information, management and technical resources;
• Identifying critical issues and unmet needs; and
• Builds collaborations with the public and private sectors to meet those needs.
Labor can and does help in each of those areas, and Kimbrough said the goal is to strengthen those partnerships.
“We have to work differently,” he said. “We have to make sure we align programs with jobs.”
The BUD program, an acronym for Building Union Diversity, is one example where the goals of labor and the United Way go hand-in-hand.
BUD is an innovative program just getting started this year to help disadvantaged groups become a real part of the construction scene as apprentices in jointly trusted labor-management apprenticeship training schools and eventually as full-fledged journeymen. Its goal is to give minorities and women the opportunity to learn a craft that will last a lifetime.
United Way has a complementary goal for its Cradle to Career program which is aimed at cutting in half the number of young people who drop out of high school by 2018 and making sure young people who finish school are ready to enter career fields.
PARTNERS SINCE WWII
United Way and organized labor share a history of partnership dating back to World War II.
Union members help to make a huge difference for the United Way programs in our community by contributing time skills and money.
Labor leaders serve on the United Way executive board, regional auxiliary boards and allocation committees, as well as coordinating community service projects and volunteer work at United Way agencies.
The United Way administers $5 for the Fight funds to help out of work and financially strapped union families in partnership with the St. Louis Labor Council, Madison County Federation of Labor and Southwestern Illinois Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
More than 600 families receive confidential help each year from the United Way staff of Labor Liaisons.
The annual Labor/United Way Trap Shoot, held at the Winchester Trap and Skeet Facility in East Alton, is a major moneymaker and has become one of the preeminent events of the United Way’s annual fundraising campaign.
“We appreciate the partnership that we have with labor here,” United Way Vice President of Labor Participation Roz Sherman-Voellinger said. “It really is second to none in the country.”
To find out more about the United Way, or to make a donation, call 314-421-0700 or visit www.stl.unitedway.org.