In the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, we thank our donors, the thousands of people in Anchorage and beyond who continue to provide the financial foundation of our work.
We’re especially grateful to those of you who have invested in our work consistently over the years – in some cases for decades.
We know that one of the best expressions of gratitude we can make is to let you know just how much your generosity matters.
You give us the strength to be a vital force for change year in and year out – a steady light in the community, trusted by both the private and public sector to deliver on the promise of helping people in Anchorage live their best lives. That trust allows us to leverage grants and appropriations from city, state, and federal government agencies, nonprofit foundations and large and small businesses.
I’ll give you two examples.
• Sen. Lisa Murkowski is working with us on a $1 million budget earmark to modernize Alaska 2-1-1, United Way’s statewide helpline that is hands-down Alaska’s best connection for people in need of everything from accurate pandemic information to next week’s groceries or next month’s rent.
Alaska’s senior senator has every reason to be confident this investment will pay off because of Alaska 2-1-1’s 14-year track record in getting Alaskans to the help they need on both a day-to-day basis and in emergencies. Both the Municipality of Anchorage and the State of Alaska have called on 2-1-1 to be their official information and referral service in emergencies from earthquake to pandemic.
If there was any doubt about the effectiveness of Alaska 2-1-1, that was resolved in 2020, when the pandemic drove a record 70,000 calls, and “call 2-1-1” became standard advice to Alaskans looking for help.
Sen. Murkowski knows another $1 million will go to an outfit that will deliver a vital service and be accountable in doing so. We’re good stewards. And we can be good stewards because your support has allowed us to build a strong, professional organization and a network of partnerships throughout the community and the state.
• Since 2013, United Way of Anchorage has provided a federally funded team of Healthcare Navigators for Alaska under the Affordable Care Act. That team had thinned to just two people in recent years due to budget cutbacks, limiting our ability to serve all those in need.
I am thrilled to share that this year we have been awarded a three-year grant of $1 million a year from the federal Department of Health and Human Services. This award has powered an expansion of your United Way Team from two Navigators to 10. That allows us to offer in-person, phone, and online service with two navigators in Fairbanks and one each in Kenai and Mat-Su, as well as more staff in Anchorage.
Our five-fold increase in Healthcare Navigator services means thousands more Alaskans will get the help they need to choose an affordable health insurance plan to cover their families during the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period, which began Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 15.
That’s the multiplier effect that you make possible. That multiplier is a return on your investment that you can count in dollars – and in caring, professional help on the receiving end of a desperate call, and in families made healthier by access to care and the peace of mind that access brings.
For all that, my friends, you have our heartfelt thanks.