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A letter from our Board Chair and CEO

Here at United Way of the Midlands, we continuously reflect upon the meaning of the word “united.” We know the success of our work is inherently tied to our community’s ability to come together and work toward a common goal.

But this year, that ability was put to the test like never before.

Our community watched with dismay as floodwaters swept across Nebraska and Iowa in March, bringing with them nearly incomprehensible devastation. Livestock perished, belongings were washed away and homes were left several feet underwater. The cost of the damages quickly rose into the billions.

Word of this natural disaster soon spread across the country, and people wondered, “How would the Midwest recover from this?”

The answer? We would embrace the meaning of the word “united” like never before.

Soon after the flood’s onset, hundreds of people began reaching out to United Way. People called about hosting fundraisers, about collecting supplies, about donating dollars. Throughout the course of the next several months, more than 2,000 individuals and 45 companies would contribute to our Nebraska and Iowa Flood Relief Fund. Volunteers from AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams would use our Get Connected platform to connect numerous people to volunteer opportunities. United Ways from across the state would reach out to offer their assistance and support.

And United Way of the Midlands was just ONE of the many organizations that was able to work together with the community to help flood victims.

This response is a testament to what it means to be truly united… to what it means to come together, to work together, and to believe that, together, we can build a community that’s stronger than ever.

So as we approach the end of the calendar year, let’s carry our newfound appreciation for “united” forward. Other challenges in our community may not be as visible or as widespread as this year’s flooding, but they still exist. Somewhere in the metro, a child is struggling in school. A mother is worrying about how she will feed her children. A teenager is searching for a stable job.

You – the 40,000 donors, 700 organizations and 13,000 volunteers who support United Way – will make it possible for us to make a difference in their lives. With your support, we can continue to bring people together to help those who need it most. With your guidance, we can continue to invest 92 cents of every donated dollar into the metro’s strongest nonprofit programs, which earned us a 7th in the nation ranking for performance in 2018. And with your belief in this community, we can continue to transform it into a place where more people can thrive and grow.

Thank you for your never-failing support of our mission. United, you have made great things happen in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro, and we have no doubt that, united, we can continue to do so.

Shawna Forsberg
President and Chief Executive Officer
United Way of the Midlands
Steve Kaniewski, Board Chair
President and Chief Executive Officer
Valmont Industries