I am proud to serve as chairman of the board of directors for United Way of Weld County (UWWC) because great things are happening here.

Our board members possess incredible credentials from all walks of life in Weld County, and what they offer makes the strength of the board exceptional. They’re passionate about our committees and coalitions – Promises for Children Early Childhood Council, Weld’s Way Home Executive Council, Weld Project Connect Steering Committee, AmeriCorps VISTA Steering Committee and our four Collective Impact work groups (Early Childhood, Youth Development, Household Stability and Seniors and Healthy Aging – they volunteer on. They aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions when it comes to making UWWC the best nonprofit it can be so it can continue to play a vital role in your community. I am excited to see what our two new board members – Patty Gates and Jim Becklenberg – will bring to the United Way family.

Over the years, I have had the privilege to see how many of the other United Ways work. While they all do great work for their communities, your UWWC County is definitely a gem. The staff is innovative and responsive to the needs of Weld County residents. Our generous donors are passionate about what we do in the community. The 1,000-plus volunteers truly make a difference at events such as Day of Action, Weld Project Connect, book drives, putting together hygiene kits, sock drives and other special things during the year.

UWWC’s fiscal year runs from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, so the annual campaign to raise $3.2 million is a quarter of the way through. There are so many exciting things happening at UWWC.

For example:
• Our new RoadMap4Kids is an online tool that connects parents and caregivers with resources for children, prenatal-8 years of age in Weld County so that all children grow up healthy, active and thriving in school. Available in English and Spanish, the roadmap can be located at www.unitedway-weld.org/roadmap4kids.
• UWWC has teamed up with AmeriCorps, Colorado Youth for a Change and Greeley-Evans School District 6 to offer Colorado Reading Corps, an evidence-based nationally implemented program that helps students build literacy skills and increase reading proficiency. By making a donation to UWWC, you can help fund full-time, year-long tutors to provide daily one-on-one sessions with kindergarten through third-grade students in District 6.
• UWWC’s 2-1-1 Information and Referral Program added text and chat features for greater customer service, ease and refinement of data base searching and relevancy. Last year our resource navigators took more than 14,500 calls requesting assistance in such categories as rental, utility bills, clothing, transportation, income support and legal/consumer/public safety.
• The first-ever Housing Navigation Center, a collaborative effort between UWWC, the City of Greeley, Sunrise Community Health and several other Weld County agencies, is scheduled to open in October. The HNC is a place for people to access resources and connect with partner agencies to get back into housing as quickly as possible.
UWWC has been helping residents locally since 1940 and invested more than $4 million in our community last year through donations and grants. More than 100 programs were funded by UWWC, and one in four people in Weld County are helped every year by a United Way supported program or service focusing on Early Childhood, Youth Development, Household Stability and Seniors/Health Aging.

UWWC cannot survive without our donors and volunteers. Please volunteer by calling (970) 353-4300 or donate by texting United 18 to 41444, visiting our website www.unitedway-weld.org or calling our office. We thank you for helping us make Weld County a better place to live.

Bryan Guest is the market president for Great Western Bank in Greeley and Loveland. He is serving his second year as board chairman at United Way of Weld County.