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United Way makes a difference

By Staff
Rep. Ronald Grantland, Guest columnist
In a recent nationwide study, it was shown that Alabamians are some of the most generous people in the country, giving more of their income to worthy charitable efforts than most other Americans. We understand that it's our responsibility to help those who need our help most, and that government can't and shouldn't do it all. And when it comes to knowing where to give, we can look in confidence to our local United Way.
Almost all of us have heard of the United Way at one time or another. Perhaps you have seen the United Way commercials during football season, or maybe your workplace has an annual United Way giving campaign.
What you may not know is that although the United Way is a national organization, it is decentralized within each state and community so that each local United Way is independent, separately incorporated, and governed by local volunteers. What this means for us as Alabamians is that the money we donate to our local United Way stays local, helping those in our own communities.
The funds you donate go to support important programs such as the new "Born Learning" Campaign. This is a wonderful campaign that focuses on helping children during those early, critical years. The "Born Learning" Campaign recognizes that many parents and families simply don't know what steps to take to encourage early learning. Its approach of improving awareness, education and action seeks to help children in communities across the country get the advantages they need to build a successful learning foundation.
There are many ways that you can support programs such as this. First, you can contribute to your local United Way organization. Many people participate by donating during their workplace's United Way giving campaign.
If you don't have a campaign in your workplace, you can give directly to the United Way in your community, or better yet, you may want to contact your local United Way to find out how to start a workplace giving campaign.
Of course, another way you can improve your community is by volunteering your time and skills. Most local United Ways operate or are affiliated with a volunteer center that can connect you to local nonprofit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls Club, or the Salvation Army, just to name a few. To find the local United Way serving your community, you can search the United Way's web site at http://national.unitedway.org.
Do your part and make a donation to the United Way. Any small donation of your money or time will go a long way towards helping those in your community, and strong communities across our state mean a better Alabama for us all.

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