United Way Of Butte and Glenn Counties
Providing the community with a “safety net” is a key concept guiding the United Way. W. Jay Coughlin, executive director of the United Way of Butte and Glenn Counties, says its member agencies are assembled in such a way that they provide a wide range of basic and emergency services.
Following the unprecedented terrorist attacks of last week, the United Way is casting its safety net a bit farther than normal. In conjunction with 1,400 other United Way agencies nationwide, the United Way of Butte and Glenn Counties is soliciting donations for its Emergency Fund. Donations to the fund will be forwarded to the appropriate local agencies in New York and Washington, D.C., for distribution to victims and their families.
Just like donating blood or lending support to the Red Cross, Coughlin says, this is “one other avenue” for people who are motivated to help in the wake of disaster. Donations to the fund should include the words “Emergency Fund” on the check, since donations otherwise would be used locally.
Coughlin says recent events only strengthen his opinion that this is a caring community.
“Sometimes I think the only reason why people aren’t out there donating more money or more time is that they haven’t been asked,” he explained.
So that’s precisely what the United Way does do—it asks. It serves primarily as a fund-raising organization, providing employee campaigns for hundreds of local businesses.
The employee contributions, along with corporate contributions, support not only the 20 United Way member agencies through its community fund, but also other organizations designated by individual donors. Last year alone, 80 non-member agencies received funding from the United Way.
Coughlin finds that many businesses don’t realize that starting an employee campaign is as easy as handing out a pledge form. He also wants individuals to know that they, too, can make donations or participate in one of the United Way’s fund-raisers.
One such fund-raiser is the 14th annual Bowl-A-Thon, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27—Make a Difference Day. The event will be held concurrently in Chico, Orland and Paradise. Bowlers can form their own teams, or contact the United Way to be placed on a team.
The same day, the United Way will benefit from the Pacific Coast Road Race held at Thunderhill Park in Willows. This is a championship event for the Sports Car Club of America. Call the United Way office for more information or a brochure.
In addition to its fund-raising campaign, the United Way fills two special needs. It administrates the FEMA emergency food and shelter program for Butte, Glenn and Colusa counties as well as the Northern California AIDS Consortium for a seven-county area. By administering these two federal programs, Coughlin says the United Way brings in more dollars for services that don’t have to be raised locally.
The United Way is also known for its Adopt-A-Family program at the holidays. Each year, more than 400 needy families are identified and provided with gifts and food, thanks to the contributions from local businesses and individuals. Last year, the United Way also served as a drop-off and distribution point for the Coats for Kids program, which provided needy children with a warm coat. That program is set to resume again Oct. 1.
Coughlin likes to remind people that even small donations help.
“Giving a dollar a week, you’ll never miss it. That’s $52 at the end of the year. But look what happens with a company with 100 employees. Five thousand dollars can have a huge impact in our community."