Giving Back to the Community
Linda Pearson makes a difference in the Sandhills
By RAY LINVILLE » Photos by JOHN PATOTA
“It’s my way to give back to this community where I was born and raised,” says Linda Pearson about her leadership of United Way of Moore County. She has been its president and CEO since 2004.
“Our work every day is helping people. You don’t know them; they don’t know you. We can always help someone in a great way,” she says about the role of her organization, which has been helping people in the Sandhills since 1968.
As the mission statement explains, it seeks “to advance the common good of the lives in our communities.”
It works in several ways to strengthen the community. In addition to raising and distributing local donations, it also provides the leadership to meet local human service needs and helps to advocate locally for these needs.
As the vehicle for residents to give back to the community through volunteering and financial contributions, it works to help everyone have a safe, healthy, and productive life.
Supporting Human Service Needs
By supporting human service needs in the community, the local United Way affiliate provides a way for residents to give back through volunteering and making financial contributions. It is separately incorporated and independently governed by a board of local community volunteer leaders.
One of more than 1,300 locally governed affiliates, it develops strategies and obtains financial and human resources to address significant local concerns. Like other United Ways, the Moore County affiliate supports local programs that help children and youth succeed, improve access to health care, promote self-sufficiency, and strengthen families.
Its major work is to fund partner agencies in the community with annual allocations that are received in undesignated contributions. It also distributes funds to other charities as directed specifically by donors.
The local affiliate is continually looking for service providers to address important community needs with a wide pool of programs and services. Each year it seeks to attract providers as grant recipients that offer effective services and programs in Moore County.
Helping Local Residents
Every day Pearson and her organization work to help local residents in three ways: education, financial stability, and health.
“We’re always looking for partners in these three areas. The door is not closed to applying for funding,” she explains.
Education is a vital focus of United Way. “Community education is the key. Any way we can supplement it, it’s all for the better for our children. With education, children are more likely to sustain themselves, their families, and stay healthy,” she explains.
The partners in education include Northern Moore Family Resource Center, Moore Buddies Mentoring, Moore County Literacy Council, and 4-H After School.
Financial stability is another major way that United Way helps the local community. As an example, Pearson points out, “One local nonprofit needed an allocation early to pay an electric bill for a local family. We can do that for them. It’s a wonderful relationship we have with local nonprofits who serve our community,” she says.
About how the financial stability of many local residents is always a concern, she says, “Someone always needs help. Some things just happen unexpectedly.”
Friend to Friend, American Red Cross, and Sandhills/Moore Coalition for Human Care are local organizations that receive support in this financial stability program.
An important companion to the United Way’s focus areas of education and financial stability is good health. Meals on Wheels, Bethesda Inc., Bethany House, and The Arc of Moore County are organizations that address local health concerns that it supports.
The United Way affiliate continues to solicit the best providers to address important community needs. With these three focus areas — education, financial stability, and health — it is supporting the building blocks of better lives and stronger communities and living out the commitment expressed in its mission statement: “Working to advance the common good of the lives in our communities.”
In a national network, the local United Way is separately incorporated and is independently governed by a local board of volunteer community leaders. With its local leadership, it is able to identify significant local issues, develop appropriate strategies, and bring together the financial and human resources to address them.
“Contributions can be made any day online and given securely. Without United Way grants, many local programs would not be working effectively,” says Pearson.
Volunteer opportunities are also available with United Way to strengthen the local community, and everyone has a talent that can be used. To learn how you can help, contact Pearson at 910-692-2413.