United Way News You Can Use: January 2022

A grid of headshots of new 2022 board members.
United Way announces board chair and welcomes seven new members

We are pleased to announce Jodi Noah, Vice President of Textron Aviation (above, top left), will serve as the chair of this year’s board of directors. Additionally, seven new members have been appointed to the board (above, in order as listed below).

  • Gene Camarena, President of La Raza Pizza, Inc.
  • Margaret Dechant, CEO, Partner and Wealth Advisor at 6 Meridian
  • Kevin Matthies, SVP Chief Technology and Quality Officer at Spirit AeroSystems
  • Dr. William Polite Jr., Director of Equity, Diversity & Accountability at Wichita Public Schools
  • Moji Rosson, Director of Growth Strategies for Meritrust Credit Union
  • Sue Tirukonda, CFP, Financial Advisor at Cordell Wealth Management
  • Johnathan Weigand, Director of Strategic Initiatives for J.P. Weigand & Sons, Inc.

View the full board of directors on our website.

Volunteers receive instructions for the annual Point in Time homeless count.
New year, new ways to make an impact

Is volunteering one of your personal resolutions for 2022? Here are three opportunities to help you get started.

  • Point in Time Count, Jan. 27: The annual count, organized by United Way for the HUD grant, provides a snapshot of how many are homeless in our community and what their most pressing needs are. Volunteer to conduct interviews or assist with volunteer check in. Training provided. Sign up today. NOTE: Due to the rise in COVID cases across the community, the count has been rescheduled to Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. 
  • Community Investment Application Review, March and April: Apply by Feb. 18 to help review nonprofit program grant applications and make funding recommendations – making sure United Way contributions do the most good.
  • Tax Preparer, January – April 15: Help those with low-to-moderate income households file their taxes for free and find a more financially secure future. No prior experience needed. Free training provided online or in-person. Site coordinators and greeters also needed. Sign up now.
  • Read to Succeed, spring semester: Help a third grader improve their reading skills by listening to them read for 20-30 minutes each week and providing simple intervention tactics. Email Shasta Lockwood at slockwood@unitedwayplains.org for a list of schools needing reading coaches and to sign up. Free training provided.

Find more opportunities from the United Way Volunteer Center at volunteertoday.org.

A volunteer tax preparer helps a client file their taxes for free through United Way's free tax prep program.
Dial 2-1-1 for free tax prep appointment beginning Tuesday, Jan. 18

Your United Way’s free tax prep program helps those who make less than $60,000 file their taxes for free. IRS-certified volunteers do the work and help clients access important tax credits. Sites are available across Wichita and in Sedgwick, Butler, Cowley, Geary and Marion counties. Last year, volunteers filed 6,364 returns that generated over $7.6 million in refunds, helping individuals and families in our community find a more financially secure future. Appointments for drop-off or in-person services can be scheduled beginning Tuesday, Jan. 18, by dialing 2-1-1.

United Way CEO Pete Najera stands with Empower Evergreen leadership.
Partnering for a brighter future for Wichita’s north end

United Way is proud to invest $55,000 to support the work of Empower Evergreen to provide the Hispanic community in north Wichita with connections to a continuum of educational opportunities, work-readiness preparation and small business development resources.

“We believe in investments that result in stronger neighborhoods, more educational opportunities and resources for fostering entrepreneurship, and workforce readiness,” said United Way of the Plains president and CEO Pete Najera pictured above (left) with Empower’s executive director Ariel Rodriguez (center) and impact specialist Jose Trejo (right). “We’re confident that the focus on strengthening the neighborhood in the north end of Wichita will have a very positive impact and we hope to see this concept refined and then replicated in other areas of our community.”

Read the full news story here.

Volunteers are needed to help decide local nonprofit program funding.
Nonprofits: Deadline for investment application fast approaching

Are you a health and human service nonprofit making an impact in the area of health, education, financial stability or basic needs? United Way of the Plains is accepting applications for 2022-2023 community investments. The deadline to apply is this Thursday, Jan. 13, at noon. Learn more and apply online at unitedwayplains.org/nonprofit-investment-opportunities.

United Way of the Plains logo.

245 N. Water St., Wichita, KS 67202
(316) 267-1321
Looking for help? Dial 2-1-1.

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Published On: January 11, 2022Tags:


Our focus is on healtheducationfinancial stability and basic needs—the building blocks for a good quality of life and a strong community. Click below to learn more about what we’re doing, the programs we invest in and our lasting impact in each area.