|WCSI Local News|
The United Way of Bartholomew County Thursday announced the results of its Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan during its annual meeting.
Mark Stewart, president of the United Way of Bartholomew County, says there were a couple of areas that stuck out to the organization. One of the major areas, Stewart says, is hunger in our community. He says it's a bigger issue than most people realize especially with children.
"We know this by looking the food insecurity rate, which tells us when people are having trouble and may not know exactly where their next meal is coming from," Stewart said. "And it is also backed up by the fact that about 40 percent of the children in our community are on the free or reduced lunch program.
Another issue that was looked at was the poverty line. Stewart says people think the poverty line represents what someone needs to earn in order to make "ends meat." But in reality, he says, in order to make "ends meat" in our community, you really need to make above 200 percent of the poverty line.
He adds that from an educational perspective, in order to kind of earn that 200 percent above the poverty line, someone needs to really graduate from high school and get some kind of post-secondary education whether it's a certificate or an associates degree.
The key finding, he says in the assessment, was that as we moves forward and in order to really address the issues that came out in the needs assessment, as a community we really need to work differently together and make sure the programs that are administered within our community address holistically the problems that people face whether it's an educational issue, a hunger issue or a health issue.
He says the needs assessment and the strategic plan are two documents that are really closely related. He adds that the big focus on the strategic plan is figuring out how the organization works in programs that really do connect education, financial stability and health and looking at the individual symptoms, but more importantly really looking at the root causes, focusing more on self-sufficiency programs and focusing on those projects that really break the cycle of poverty and moving people up the economic ladder.
He added that a $330,000 grant from United Way of Indiana will help establish a new program to raise a number of households from the depths of poverty.
He noted that starting in April; the United Way of Bartholomew County will be convening expert councils around education, financial stability and health. They will be made up of 12 to 20 people that are real experts in those areas that will be really working together to figure out the best and most effective ways for our community to move forward and to address the needs that were found.
Stewart says it was also a record setting year for the Bartholomew County United Way. He says this year's campaign raised just over $4 million.
Stewart also acknowledged several special award winners. Enkei America and Master Power Transmission picked up the "Give" Award while Amazing Joe's, Parker Portraits and the CSA Fodrea 4th Graders received the "Advocate" Award.
Deborah Seeley and the Community Needs Assessment Team for United Way took the "Volunteer" Award.
Cummins, Inc. received the first-ever "Live United Award" for its support of United Way in Bartholomew County.
Amber Fischvogt was introduced as the 2013 Board Chairman for Bartholomew County United Way succeeding Mark Rothbart who held the spot in 2012.
Last Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 6:57:48 AM
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