July 21, 2017
Birthdays are a time to celebrate.
In honor of their 140th birthday on May 10, 2016, our friends at Eli Lilly & Co. celebrated their longstanding commitment to community with setting a lofty goal. Just before the kickoff to the 2016-17 ReadUP program year, Lilly leadership challenged their workforce to honor those 140 years by recruiting 140 new ReadUP tutors within their company.
When we heard about this challenge, we could not have been more excited, though not surprised. After all, Lilly has ties with United Way dating back nearly 100 years, when J.K. Lilly served as a member of the War Chest, a forerunner of today’s United Way. Over the decades, Lilly has partnered with United Way through workplace campaigns, advocacy and volunteerism to improve the lives of millions and build stronger communities.
We are happy to say to Eli Lilly, “Mission Accomplished!” Not only did you reach your goal, but you exceeded the challenge set forth to commemorate your 140th Anniversary year. You recruited 157 new volunteers! And your 382 new and returning volunteers canvased 35 of our 39 ReadUP sites, comprising 37% of our total program volunteers.
All our ReadUP volunteers are vital to the success of the program. We know if we can ensure kids are reading at grade-level by the end of 3rd grade, it is a strong predictor of academic performance and success later in life. Yet, due to a lack of volunteers in previous years, 25% of ReadUP students did not receive the recommended number of tutoring sessions. So, our work is not done. Registration for ReadUP 2017-18 begins today. To ensure all our students receive access to the program, we are seeking 1,200 volunteers for all open opportunities! To register visit uwci.org/readup.
We applaud our friends at Lilly for recognizing the great responsibility of pursuing quality education for our children, and thank all our volunteers for helping to ensure that more vulnerable children are given the opportunities they deserve to learn, grow and succeed.
Lilly isn’t the only one who gets to blow out the candles, though. As you may have heard, United Way of Central Indiana has a milestone birthday to celebrate next year, too – 100! Like Lilly, we will celebrate the past, but prepare for the future. We have another 100 years ahead of us to stay in this fight for the education, financial stability, health and basic needs of every person in our community. We are looking for even more hand raisers and game changers to join us and our friends at Lilly, because together we can LIVE UNITED.