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  • Writer's pictureUna Wirkebau

United Way


“Improving lives by mobilizing communities to create lasting changes in community conditions.” Do you know who this ethos belongs to? United Way of Northern Arizona! When communities face emergencies like pandemics and floods as well as a variety of other cataclysmic challenges to the economic vitality of northern Arizona – UWNA is poised to support community members in Coconino, Navajo, and Apache Counties. One of the only nonprofit organizations nationwide, which places 100% of your donations to those affected by crisis.

You, the Reader, may be scratching your head and saying to yourself, “Gosh, I don’t recall ever seeing United Way here in _____________ (Winslow, Holbrook, Springerville,…)” and the organization, recognizes this fact. In the past, there have simply been funding challenges; lack of interest with municipalities to participate with annual campaigns, lack of any sizeable employers, to name a few.

We are currently however, in the midst of a major crisis, the shutting down of both the Cholla Power Plant and the Coronado Generating Station, both set for phasing out production over the next few years – creating a cascade of economic discourse. Employees earning 50 to 100k per year, are now either transferring to other offered jobs in The Valley, simply moving for other workforce opportunities, or staying with the hopes of finding something new, in a historically impoverished region.

A small group of dedicated leaders in the area, are working with UWNA and Phoenix Philanthropy Group, to develop a strategic plan for overcoming these challenges. This taskforce and research could not happen without generous funding by both APS and SRP, who own these power plants. Our working group has determined 4 leading priorities: Childcare & Afterschool Support, Reliable Broadband, Substance & Mental Health Facilities, Sustainable Infrastructure for Not for Profits. This planning process will include community input sessions as well as hire individuals in communities in a part time capacity, to be boots on the ground to convey and relay information coming out of this taskforce. Be sure to stay tuned on how you can provide insight into the discussion of action items to create economic vitality throughout the region.

- Una,

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