2015-2016 was a great year for our organization. The fund raising effort led by Elizabeth Sutherland and Ric Tyler with the assistance of a great group of volunteers and a dedicated staff achieved our $1.8 million annual campaign goal. This was due in part to a stable economy and the excellent effort on the part of our Cornerstone companies. As an example, Eastern Maine Medical Center doubled their employee gifts due in large part by the utilization of employee presentations to their staff.
The United Way of Eastern Maine continued to fund over 50 of the very best health and human service programs in our 5 county area. Our funded programs that focus on education with a focus on the needs of children providing service to children preschool, after school and on weekends. We also funded programs that focus on providing basic needs to people that had a difficult time making ends meet. Finally, we funded programs that focus on health in an effort to assist seniors stay in their homes and families with children avoid risky behaviors. This year was the 3rd year of continuation funding for our programs and agencies. In late 2016, we will be recruiting volunteers to begin the process of fund distribution.
We continued our special initiatives to address food security issues, financial stability and heating assistance. Though our work with Good Shepard Food Bank, our Pantry Project food drive and the NALC food drive, we were able to distribute over 150,000 pounds of food valued at approximately $318,000 to the various food pantries in our region. Our efforts around financial stability focused our collaborative efforts related to the CA$H program. This effort and partnership with AARP and the IRS provided 5,700 seniors and low income families with free tax preparation bringing back $4.25 million to our communities. Finally, Project Heat and our Neighbors Helping Neighbors Program provided grants to non-profits and community organizations to help fund heating assistance to people in need.
Volunteers are the life blood of our organization and in 2016, we had a record year. We estimate that UWEM volunteers clocked 13,671 hours in volunteer work which is estimated at being worth $315,590. In addition, we partnered with EMHS and trained the personnel at 3 agencies using the Service Enterprise Model for the recruitment, training and utilization volunteers.
On behalf of all of us at the United Way of Eastern Maine, we extend our sincere thanks for your commitment and support.
John Kuropchak, President & CEO
Pictured above: United Way of Eastern Maine staff — back row l to r: Pam Frye, Kathryn Ravenscraft, Rod O’Connor, Janelle Wouristo, Sarah Bailey front row l to r: Shirar Patterson, John Kuropchak, Jesse Moriarity