My Turn: Your service to the community matters

  • Sunday, December 13, 2015 1:00am
  • Opinion

As an accountant, I know that United Way of Southeast Alaska allows contributions to be more efficient in their impact in the community. What I mean is that United Way focuses on support, which gives partner agencies the time and energy to focus on their core missions. All 33 of United Way’s partner agencies receive benefits from United Way, such as funding from grants and donors, enhanced credibility, publicity and awareness in communities across Southeast Alaska, networking opportunities and resource development. I believe that United Way is here to support partner agencies so that these agencies can focus on their mission in the most efficient and effective way.

Donating to United Way is nice and easy. Small donations add up over time and become large contributions. Think about all of the small donations you’ve made and add them up for 20 or 30 years. If you donate $20 a month for 30 years, you will have donated $7,200. That shows how small monthly donations impact the community over time. Since the funding that partner agencies receive from United Way comes primarily from donors, it’s important that we understand the impact individuals make for agencies across Southeast Alaska. By donating, you’re helping United Way partner agencies fulfill their mission to the community.

Day of Caring is a nice visual representation of what United Way does for the community and for partner agencies. We know that all agencies have limited time and resources. When United Way hosts its annual Day of Caring event, agencies are given time to focus on their core mission while volunteers help complete other projects. United Way works with partner agencies to bring community awareness to each agency’s role and impact in communities across Southeast Alaska.

For United Way’s partner agencies, networking and resource development are important. United Way stepped up and facilitated the conversation to bring agencies together, thus creating the Food Coalition. The idea behind the conversation is when agencies working toward a common goal decide to work together for the greater good, more things can be accomplished within the community. Less competition among agencies means more food resources and more opportunities. As a result, more mission driven programs were successfully developed to serve the community.

United Way of Southeast Alaska not only serves the community, but also serves partner agencies by aiding in their effort to fulfill local needs. Statistics show that 1 in 3 people will use a United Way partner agency in their lifetime. When you donate to United Way of Southeast Alaska, you are donating to agencies and community members alike. I choose to donate to United Way because I know that my donation will be spread across the community in my areas of interest. If everyone donated, we could make a large impact across Southeast Alaska and the difference we would make would be huge.

Please call (907)463-5530 or visit for more information.

• Mark Mesdag, CPA, is the Partner at Elgee Rehfeld Mertz, LLC and co-chair of the fall campaign effort with United Way.

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