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May 29, 2018
United Way of Larimer County actively pursues strategic partnerships to increase the financial stability of individuals and families in Larimer County. With Financial Stability as one of our primary areas of focus, we work with both local and national organizations who increase stability for Larimer County citizens by assisting with housing, food, medicine and other basic needs. We also fund programming and participate in collaborative community initiatives that work to break the cycle of poverty by improving access to healthcare, decreasing educational disparities, increasing access to affordable childcare and supporting training and employment options for families.
I am very proud of our partnership with the City of Fort Collins, Catholic Charities and local congregations that makes a Seasonal Overflow Shelter available to the most vulnerable among us on Colorado’s coldest winter nights.
We also appreciate the opportunity to work with United Way of Weld County on a regional approach to ending homelessness and a coordinated entry system that increases information sharing across agencies and is focused on providing available housing to those who need it most. Read more about this program – the Northern Colorado Continuum of Care.
In Fort Collins, our participation on the Homeward 2020 advisory board has also been rewarding. Under the leadership of Holly LeMasurier, Christine Kneeland and Dave Edwards, and with support from the Bohemian Foundation, the group works in collaboration with Catholic Charities, the Housing Catalyst, Homeless Gear and the Murphy Center to track information and trends with the end goal of making homelessness rare, short-lived and non-reoccurring. You can learn more about their work on the Homeward 2020 Dashboard.
At the intersection of our areas of focus – Financial Stability and Youth & Education – is the issue of access to high quality, affordable childcare. We know that quality early childhood care and education can have a profound impact on society, both in the short and long-term. Today, this access increases workforce participation, allowing families to increase their financial stability in the present. Longer term investments in early childhood education result in concrete benefits to the child (statistically significant higher graduation rates, increased earning potential and more) and a significant impact on tax payers bottom line – for example, the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs has found that high quality early childhood programs can yield a $4 - $9 dollar return per $1 invested.
We are excited to look at opportunities to create impact in this area throughout the county. In Estes Park, we will continue to fund EVICS who works alongside parents via a research-based program called Parents-as-Teachers, while also looking at innovative opportunities to increase capacity for infant care, which has been identified as a critical need given there are only eight slots for infants with licensed providers in all of Estes Park. In Loveland, we will continue to fund our Be Ready Navigator, and in Fort Collins we are exploring options to increase capacity at Teaching Tree, which currently has 200+ children on its waiting list, given its sliding-fee scale and exemplary rating by Colorado Shines (by the state of Colorado).
And finally, in keeping with the focus of United Way globally on income, education and health, we will continue our partnership with FamilyWize, a national nonprofit that partners with United Way affiliates to provide access to affordable prescription medication. In 2017 alone, FamilyWize assisted over 2.3 million individuals with prescriptions, saving consumers almost $180,000,000 at an average savings rate of 43.5%. Especially noteworthy in our community, where we unfortunately have a disproportionately high rate of suicide, is the savings that FamilyWize provided for mental health medications – at more than 51 percent. Specifically in Larimer County, more than 8,000 citizens saved $1 million on prescription medication through FamilyWize. United Way of Larimer County is proud to continue this partnership to increase the overall health of our citizens. Learn more about the program at https://familywize.org.
While the above only scratches the surface of the work your United Way is doing to drive change in the area of Financial Stability, I hope you are inspired by the positive outcomes YOU are making possible through your gifts of time, talent and treasure. In future editions of our new United Way of Larimer County newsletter, we will bring you more on the initiatives above, as well as information specific to our other focus areas – Youth & Education, Community Engagement and Nonprofit Excellence. We will continue to work hard every day to be the very best stewards of your dollars, ensuring your contributions are put toward our communities’ most pressing needs in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Annie Davies, President / CEO
United Way of Larimer County
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