United Way of East Central Iowa unveils new community-driven strategy ‘Unite to Inspire’

Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 5:32 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - United Way of East Central Iowa is taking a closer look at how community needs have changed in the pandemic and after the 2020 derecho.

The United Way of East Central Iowa is calling its new strategy - ‘Unite to Inspire.’ It proposes and creates solutions for tough challenges.

Leaders with United Way of East Central Iowa said they’ve done a year’s worth of research here in our community. They say across the five-county area they serve, affordable housing, child care and safety net services are the biggest challenges people are facing right now.

Kristin Roberts, President of UWEIC said they found possible solutions are things like economic mobility, access to health care and childhood success. Roberts added they research and address the community’s top issues on a rotating basis, but after the derecho and pandemic hit, they had to reassess.

”We knew when the pandemic came, everything was out the window. So, we knew we had to take the time to really dig into what was happening. We could see that there were just changes moving in real-time as to what people needed. And then the derecho just impacted that ten thousandfold,” said Roberts.

Roberts said these are not problems with a quick solution.

She added with Unite to Inspire they’re digging deeper into their key pillars of health, education and financial stability, targeting those areas of focus that are of immediate need.

Karey Chace, Vice President of Community Impact for UWEIC said the biggest thing they wanted to do was understand what the communities needs were.

”I think these needs were always there. I think what we have seen during the last two almost three years, through the pandemic and the derecho is that the issues have been highlighted and have come full attention,” said Chase.

For more on the Unite to Inspire strategy and how you can help, click here.