Recently, our Board of Directors held a retreat to focus on our strategic direction for the next three years. It's been a while since we convened as a group to discuss the direction of the United Way as well as our biggest challenges and opportunities. A decade ago, this United Way made a future-changing decision when it moved to become an Impact Model United Way - one built on funding targeted outcomes in four primary areas, each with the goal of improving the community.
At the time, the decision was considered a risky move as it fundamentally changed the course of how United Way operated. Since then, we have been encouraged that our decision to do so was not only the right thing to do for the community, but necessary. Since 2013, we have been laser focused on supporting local programs that turn the curve on improving education, health and financial stability of people in our region. We have raised, committed and distributed nearly $100 million dollars to programs and people since 1957.
For these reasons, and more, it made sense to come together now as an agency and ask ourselves where we are we in our journey, and how can we improve on what we are currently doing. One of the biggest challenges we face is simply explaining to people who we are. The United Way has been around since 1887; in Alachua County, we opened our doors nearly 60 years ago in 1957. The world has vastly changed since then, and here at home, our needs have grown but our mission has remained. Who are we? Your number one trusted choice in charitable giving. What are we? A beacon of hope for people who need help. Why join the United Way? We unite people to help give hope to those in need and to save lives.
Funny how something as simple as a retreat can bring everything back into focus.