Importance of Annual Giving

    The Importance of Annual Giving

    submitted by: Desiree Smith


    It is an honor and privilege to serve as Co-chair with Emil Mackey for the 2020 United Way of Southeast Alaska Campaign.

    It is my belief that everyone would like to do whatever they can to help those in need. My broadcast career has blessed me with the opportunity to practice my craft primarily across the Deep South, but never have I seen the camaraderie, sense of community, or the generous nature that is the true essence of Southeast Alaska.  It is a huge reason why we have made our home here and why I am so happy to work with United Way of Southeast Alaska (UWSEAK).

    The Mission is Clear: United Way of Southeast Alaska has a vision where all people have the God-given right to achieve their human potential through education, a stable income, and healthy wellbeing mentally and physically. This is so important while we also help to instill self-reliance, a sense of community pride, and respect for others.

    UWSEAK serves as an umbrella to ensure the mission, vision, and core values of volunteerism, integrity, diversity, and commitment to community are a success.

    Beneath this giant umbrella is hope, assistance, guidance, and rolled up sleeves for 30+ community nonprofit organizations.  Each one of these important nonprofits is making a difference in the lives of so many.  For instance, the United Way of Southeast Alaska CARES Meal Program supplied meals through three different locations to those in need this year. Local restaurants cooked an additional 450 meals for the community. Salvation Army annual event went mobile with help from The Hangar on the Wharf, T. K Maguire's, and In Bocca al Lupo. Without the combined efforts of so many, families would have gone without food on Thanksgiving.

    Raising funds for partner organizations is very important, but UWSEAK also recognizes and supports funding for specific immediate needs.

    It's true.  There are many ways to give. How do you choose the right way for you or your organization?

    Why should you choose United Way?  Please allow me to share some of my reasons.  I hope it will help you in your decision.

    • It's Local-  your donation will stay in Southeast and help those here who need it most.
    • Choice- You can choose one or several agencies where your dollars are directed or your contribution can be spread across the community.  You Decide!
    • Confidence-  United Way has a proven track record so you know your contribution will get to where you want it to go.
    • Impact:  $1 per week provides meals to 5 people in a shelter.  $5 per week provides a safe place for someone going through a domestic violence situation. Donating small amounts makes a big impact on those in need!
    • So Easy to Give!- Giving through payroll deduction is easy and it only needs to be set up once a year. If your company does not have that option, you can donate online at
    • Volunteer- there are many ways to help! Your time is one of the most precious ways to give.

    One in three people will use a United Way partner agency at some time in their lifetime. In Southeast Alaska, we are connected in so many ways. Undoubtedly, you know a friend, a coworker,  or even a family member whose life has been touched by a United Way Partner.

    They say, “When it Rains, It Pours”. Indeed, it does. And that’s why United Way is here. Beneath that giant, safe umbrella of giving, there is hope for improved literacy for school children through the Reading Tutors Program, a Day of Caring in four SE Alaska communities, and so much more!

    To think that others will go without food, gifts, or even shelter during the holiday season is hard for many of us to imagine. Yet, it is a reality right here in our very own backyard, and not just during the holidays.  This is the reality every day for far too many.

    If we are the caring, community-minded neighbor that makes SE Alaska so special then we must all do something to help.

    Won’t you please consider a payroll deduction that you will be comfortable in making or make a one-time gift to United Way of Southeast Alaska?  Your contribution will make such a difference in the lives of so many.

    Thank you for helping your community come together in the United Way.

    Please call 907-463-5330 or visit for more information.



    Desiree Smith is a Board member of United Way of Southeast Alaska and serving as Campaign Co-Chair for the 2020 Fall Giving Campaign.


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