O‘ahu funding does not affect Kauai United Way

Recent news articles have reported that Aloha United Way has decided to restrict its funding to four specific social service areas. This decision effectively eliminates funding to a number of long-time AUW agencies. It has no affect on Kauai social services at all.

Aloha United Way focuses its funding exclusively on O‘ahu and is one of five United Ways in the state. Kauai United Way, wholly independent of Aloha United Way, provides funding only for social service programs that serve Kaua‘i people. Money raised on Kaua‘i by Kauai United Way stays on Kaua‘i.

Each year, volunteer community leaders from the Kauai United Way board of directors re-evaluate the social service needs of our island and direct funding where it is most needed in our community, unbounded by social service categories. All agencies must re-apply every year and new agencies are also invited to apply annually. In this way, on-going needs as well as emerging issues can be addressed in the ever-changing social service landscape of our island.

Well-established organizations on Kaua‘i, such as the YWCA and YMCA, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Hospice and Salvation Army, receive KUW funding for their crucial programs. The volunteers sometimes also choose to fund less well-known organ-izations, like Kaua‘i’s Friendship Club, which boasts world-class success in re-integrating Kaua‘i adults with serious mental illness into society or Kaua‘i’s Catholic Charities, which works hard to prevent homelessness by helping keep Kaua‘i families secure in their own homes — to support their vital work in our community.

Kauai United Way supports dozens of social service programs, all on Kaua‘i, that improve the lives of tens of thousands of Kaua‘i people every year. Of course, those receiving these direct benefits are better off. But so are their families and friends and co-workers and neighbors. In fact, when you think about it, it’s not hard to understand that when people in need in our community receive the help they deserve, every one of us lucky enough to live here benefits — everyone.

The 2007 Kauai United Way Annual Campaign is underway with a goal of raising $606,060. For more information, call 245-2043.

• Scott Giarman is the executive director of Kauai United Way.


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