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The Road Ahead

United Way of Hunterdon County’s Board President, Brad Muller, has a clear vision of the role our organization fulfills in the community. He also sees the challenges facing not just United Way, but all nonprofits. The following blog post recaps his views.

Why United Way Should Be Your Charity of Choice

When thinking about what lies ahead for our United Way over the next few years, I am both optimistic and realistic.  Optimistic because we are an organization that continues to do tremendous good in Hunterdon County and we have an amazing story to tell. 

Whether it is the young woman who through our Thrive program moves from being one small step away from homelessness to having a steady job, a budget, and hope for one day buying a house; the senior who uses our VITA program because he doesn’t have $300 to spend on an accountant or the confidence to complete his taxes himself, but who now receives a $1000 tax refund he did not know he was even eligible for; or the TIRO healthy living program that has touched the lives of more than 200 Latinos in Hunterdon County; or the young girl who was worried she would not have a backpack for her upcoming school year, but through our Tools for School program has all of the school supplies she needs to get through the year and reach her full potential; or the single underemployed father who doesn’t know how he is going to put Christmas gifts under the tree this year but thanks to Holiday Hands knows that his two kids will wake up on Christmas morning with new jackets and boots for the winter waiting for them.  In these ways, and so many more, our volunteers, staff together with our community partners help improve the lives of countless Hunterdon County residents.

So yes, I am optimistic that an organization that does this much good will continue to have a place in our community. But I am also realistic about the challenges we face. These are existential challenges that are increasingly threatening all United Ways and indeed all non-profit organizations.  With more and more charities reaching out to donors, and ever increasing need, the competition for charitable dollars is growing.  

Which leads to the question – why us?  Why donate to United Way as opposed to one of the thousands of other organizations that calls you at 8:00 at night at home, or sends you flyers in the mail, or asks for your donation when you are checking out at the grocery store. 

I’m not saying not to give to those organizations – many are worthy and I encourage you to give as much as you can.  But the reason why United Way of Hunterdon County should be a primary charity of choice is because the good we do has a tremendous impact right here, at home.  We help your neighbors, your family, your friends.  We help those who have nowhere else to turn, and those who just need a little help to set them on the path to success.  We live in community with tremendous resources and access to just about anything you could want, but there are too many Hunterdon County residents – living right down the street from you in plain sight – that are having trouble providing the most basic of needs for themselves and their children. 

As we continue to evolve as an organization – servicing the needs of our community while making necessary changes to adapt to this new fiscal reality we are living in – I ask you to consider us as a charity of choice.  Please continue to donate your skills, your time, and your money.  Because in the end United Way is only as impactful as its volunteers, its staff, and its donors.  Without you, we are just a name and a logo.  A logo doesn’t put presents under the tree, help a young woman get a new job, or bring back to Hunterdon County almost two million dollars in tax refunds and credits for those in need.  You do.  Without you, we are nothing.  And we need your help now more than ever.

Brad Muller, Esq., Board of Trustees President, United Way of Hunterdon County