United Way launching fall fundraising with new methods, new president, and new approach to address community needs

WICHITA, Kan., Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020 — COVID-19 has tested our community in new ways but United Way was built for moments like this. Whether we’re responding to a global Pandemic or the personal crises that occur every day, we’re here to help. We develop innovative solutions to tackle the most pressing issues. That’s why our fall fundraising campaign looks different this year. We’re taking new approaches to rally our citizens, addressing community needs with new methods and acting under new leadership.

Fall Fundraising Campaign: Unite with us. Join the fight.

United Way is asking the community to support its ability to respond to crises like the Pandemic and ongoing individual crises. United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in south central Kansas. For example, United Way’s 211 helpline has handled over 74,462 calls since March from individuals concerned about the coronavirus, looking for help with rent and utilities and many non-Pandemic issues.

“Keeping our 211 service going year-round and providing other services takes money,” said 2020 United Way campaign chair Bob Thurman, retired CEO of Credit Union of America. “We encourage everyone who is able to support our efforts to meet our neighbors’ needs–whether it’s from the Pandemic or a personal crisis like caring for a child born with special needs or an elderly parent who needs lunch delivered.”

Fall events and giving methods go virtual

New approach to meeting community needs

Sometimes community-level problems are beyond the scope of any one organization or even service sector. To remedy such problems, United Way of the Plains is expanding its problem-solving approach called collective impact that brings together nonprofits, schools, businesses, labor, churches, government entities, donors and more. For example, beginning next year, United Way of the Plains is consolidating all of its work to address homelessness. Instead of funding isolated programs, United Way will be requesting nonprofits to submit proposals for programs that will get more people out of homelessness and into their own homes for the long haul.

New president & CEO

United Way of the Plains is now operating under a new president & CEO, Peter F. Nájera, who began Aug. 10 after the retirement of Patrick J. Hanrahan on June 30.

“The community is facing tough issues created by the Pandemic, but even before the Pandemic, the community has been facing ongoing economic and social changes that require new approaches,” said Nájera. “United Way’s history is full of times like this that require innovation. We are committed to addressing community issues in holistic ways–inviting multiple partners in the community to join with us–doing together what none of us can do individually.”


MEDIA CONTACT: Delane Butler, Vice President of Marketing, United Way of the Plains, (316) 267‑1321, ext. 4105, dbutler@unitedwayplains.org


Published On: September 9, 2020


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