The United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area was founded as a collaboration of neighbors, to develop ways to improve their community. This remains the core value of United Way today. United Way is a community of Neighbors Helping Neighbors dedicated to providing opportunities for our neighbors to thrive through three key areas; Live, Work & Learn. Since 1957, we have been investing in local programs whose mission aligns with these focus areas. Together, our goal has been to improve lives, jobs, and futures within the Greater Grand Forks community.
In 2019, we saw the need to modernize our approach to address current community issues. United Way hosted a series of community meetings with key stakeholders such as government officials, area nonprofits, school officials, and community members to identify gaps in services throughout the region. The community issues that were identified included services for families experiencing homelessness, access to basic necessities for youth, and a lack of childcare.
After receiving input from the community, the United Way Board of Directors and staff met to re-evaluate our strategic plans and goals. It was determined at this time, United Way would transition to provide direct services to low-income families in addition to providing financial support to area nonprofits through granting opportunities. In 2020, United Way launched a series of programs including Families First, The Backpack Program, and Kidz Closet. Each of these programs helps sustain the quality of life for families with children living in the Greater Grand Forks Area.
It is at this time that United Way, our staff and board of directors, have decided to step away from our annual granting cycle to focus our efforts on key community issues and improving opportunities for families to achieve self-sufficiency through our Live, Work & Learn programs.
We have launched the Bright Futures Capital campaign. We are working to acquire property. Additional space on the Bright Futures campus will allow for United Way to expand current programs and offer additional services to our neighbors in need. Bright Futures will be a family-focused hub of resources including the addition of a licensed preschool and childcare center, serving approximately 135 children between the ages of 0 and 12.We look forward to what the future holds for United Way.
Our board and staff have worked hard to envision a future where families can thrive. We are working diligently to close gaps in services throughout the community. We will continue to partner with you, the Greater Grand Forks community, to guide our efforts. We are dedicated to continuing to help our community grow stronger.
On behalf of the board of directors and staff, we want to say thank you.