Building community by strengthening our families

Building community by strengthening our families.
By Doran Moreland

“You can do it. You can be somebody.”

Those are the honest sentiments spoken from Elisa, captured in video this past summer when we learned of her family’s journey of hope, resiliency and success. Elisa joined United Way’s Great Families 2020 program in 2018 and became one of many examples of how entire families can benefit from the Two Generational Approach (2Gen) – the catalyst for how United Way has transformed its work to combat the devastating effects of generational poverty.

Elisa’s words were ringing in my ears as I served on the Family Opportunity Fund workgroup in August. Our workgroup’s staff and volunteers were knee-deep in analyzing letters of interest from dozens of community-based organizations all across our region for the first phase of Family Opportunity grants. When the final grants were announced this morning, I smiled as I thought of the families that would feel the impact, like Elisa’s. Today, 11 organizations across our region will receive a total of $2.5 million for their 2Gen work, with the intent of clearing the path out of poverty for thousands of Central Indiana families.

I picture those families with so few resources and yet much potential saying, I can do it. I can be somebody. United Way donors help make this possible, and we can’t wait to begin sharing more stories like Elisa’s in the coming months and years. Even more, the Family Opportunity Fund will distribute another round of grants early in 2020 for even greater impact in our community.

It’s an honor for me to serve on the board of United Way of Central Indiana, the only organization that can unite an entire community of everyday philanthropists, volunteers and advocates to make a significant difference to the 237,000 households who are struggling in our community. And while our goal is to make impact at scale, we never lose sight of each person – like Elisa. May we all know the impact of this work through Elisa’s motivational words, “You can do it. You can be somebody.”

Doran Moreland is Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Belonging at Ivy Tech and a board member of United Way of Central Indiana.