United Way looked back on the past year Oct. 7 at the 23rd annual Report to the Community Luncheon hosted by United Way-Northeast at the Hurst Conference Center.“Our Northeast Tarrant community is a strong presence, providing an incredible wealth of community leaders and volunteers to help us in our work,” said United Way of Tarrant County CEO Tim McKinney.
He noted that many attending the event were aware of United Way’s efforts in education, financial stability and health. “We are grateful to you for your investment in our work,” he said. “Your dollars are vital of course, but many of you have volunteered countless hours, serving those who need your assistance.” He pointed out that companies such as TD Auto Finance and DFW Airport are among those that have given their time and resources generously.
NBC 5 News Anchor Deborah Ferguson, the program emcee, summarized many accomplishments in Northeast Tarrant County. Among them:
- Preschoolers in Birdville ISD benefited from United Way funds that placed Parents As Teachers staff in positions to help parents understand their role as their young children’s first teachers.
- Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a United Way-supported program that mails age-appropriate books to children ages birth to 5, served children in ZIP codes in Euless, Watauga and Haltom City. The seven-year-old program recently distributed its 100,000th book in Tarrant County.
- United Way partnered with the nonprofit organization BridgesWork in Bedford toaddress the loss of reading and math skills that students face when they are out of school during the summer.
- United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites at GRACE in Grapevine and the Community Enrichment Center in North Richland Hills helped low-income working families complete their tax returns at no cost and learn about other financial services.
- A United Way-supported program called Social Transportation for Seniors used volunteer drivers to take North Richland Hills older adults to shopping sites, beauty salons, barber shops, banks, senior centers and other social destinations.
Retired Alcon Laboratories CEO Kevin Buehler, the 2015 United Way Campaign Chair, outlined some ways companies and individuals can benefit the community above and beyond their normal United Way contributions. These include funding a summer learning program, a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site, education for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s, or an elementary school “reading oasis.”