• John McMillin: How much do you know about United Way, revisited

    By John McMillin -

    Your questions do matter to us at United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland. For that reason, this column is a continuation from last week in which we review some of our most often asked questions and areas of concern. 

    Many of our donors were able to be a part of an overall payroll campaign and have heard how we raise funds and distribute funds. If so, you know we keep money local unless a donor specifically wants their designation to go somewhere else. We’re thankful to honor those requests because we get a sizable sum of funds from many places across this great nation of ours. Perhaps they grew up here. Maybe they still have a relative who lives here, but whatever the reason, they want their money to come to Wilson County.

    We are, financially, a small United Way, but we manage to help support more than 40 local programs that assist this community. Still, we get asked if we can help someone financially. United Way is not legally set up to provide direct financial assistance to individuals, but we work with many community partners that do. The best way to find available resources in your area is by calling our 2-1-1 help number. It’s a three-digit number like 911, but for access to health and human services. Calling 211 will get you a trained resource and referral specialist, who will know what services are available in your area. Sometimes the 211 line can be a problem from a cellphone or may not yet be available in your immediate area. If you can’t get through on 211, you can visit 211.org and type in your zip code. It will provide an alternate number where one is available. 

    Also, you should know if someone does call our office looking for financial help due to an emergency, illness or other situation they simply couldn’t avoid, we do our best to find as many resources as possible. Our most referred agencies in Wilson County include two community help centers, Charis Health Center in Mt. Juliet and Joseph’s Storehouse in Lebanon.

    How does my business become a partner with UWWUC? Please contact us. The easiest way is to call our office at 615-443-1871. Having a campaign is far simpler than most imagine. For example, we need more employee payroll campaigns locally, and they are easy to manage. The easiest method entails an employer allowing employees to make a regular deduction – weekly, monthly or quarterly, usually – through their payroll, payable to our United Way.

    After an initial contact, we’ll supply pledge forms, brochures and any media that may be helpful. We are then happy to talk with employees during a group meeting and tell them how they can give through payroll deduction. We find that employees are much happier knowing they can give back to their community in painless method of a dollar or two each week than a one-time lump donation. Plus, since most of us are asked for donations frequently, you can say, thank you but I give through United Way at my workplace. It’s all about helping others and making your life a little simpler.  

    John McMillin is president of United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland. Email him at [email protected]

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