Happy Thanksgiving! We are the 2020 United Way of Albany County (UWAC) Campaign Chairs and we hope you are healthy and secure in this tumultuous year. When we reflect on what we are thankful for, what rises to the top is our gratitude for our good fortune to live in such a generous caring community.

UWAC responded to two of the county’s biggest trials of the year. UWAC established a COVID Fund ($200,000) that has supported nonprofits and through them, individuals and families, with needs related to the pandemic. UWAC also established a Mullen Fire Fund ($25,000) to address needs related to the massive wildfire. You stepped up in an emergency and UWAC was able to steer your generosity in real time to where it was needed. Thank you.

Now we turn to our regular work, the annual campaign. This community still faces challenges, and these are going to grow with the budget cuts at the State and at the university.

The annual United Way campaign provides foundational support for our 17 partner agencies. These agencies are the safety net in this community addressing issues as wide ranging as food and housing insecurity, healthcare for the uninsured, mental health programs, youth programs, programs for those with developmental disabilities, and end of life care. The numbers are impressive.

Last year, donations to UWAC helped provide over 280,000 free meals, safe shelter to almost 2,000 individuals/families, preschool and youth programming for over 1,000 children and free or reduced-cost health care to almost 2,000 community members. UWAC support of these agencies is critical because it is unrestricted and can be leveraged by the agencies to get outside funding. One agency leverages $3 in UWAC funding to bring in $97 in outside funding. Your UWAC donation is powerful and any amount makes a difference.

You know these agencies because they are prominent in our community. We list them to give them credit: Albany County Branch of the Red Cross, ARK Regional Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Developmental Preschool and Day Care Center, Family Promise of Albany County, Downtown Clinic, Laramie Interfaith, Wyoming 211, Hospice of Laramie, Eppson Center for Seniors, Laramie Youth Crisis Center, Laramie Head Start, Laramie Soup Kitchen, Peak Wellness Center, SAFE Project, Laramie Reproductive Health, and My Front Door.

We do this work together, as a team. Businesses, non-profits, and individuals contribute money, time, and passion for building and improving our community. Lists of outstanding donors are presented in this newspaper. Thank them. Support them. Join them.

We hope you will help UWAC reach the 2020 campaign goal of $535,000 to support the work of these fine agencies and their dedicated staffs, and in the process help Albany County continue to be a great place to live and work. Donations can be made online at www.unitedwayalbanycounty.org or by check to United Way of Albany County, 710 E. Garfield St. Suite 240, Laramie, WY. 82070.

Mary Burman and Charlie DeWolf are the co-chairs of the United Way of Albany County.

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