Deirdre Sullivan | United Way of Larimer County
Our partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to launch the Imagination Library in Larimer County this summer has me constantly singing “….Working 9 to 5 what a way to make a livin’… barely gettin’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin’…”. Not surprisingly, the constant tune in my head also makes my heart feel the impact of United Way of Larimer County’s commitment to every single person in our community achieving financial stability. True to Dolly’s line, so many of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and colleagues are “barely gettin’ by” as the rise in the cost of living runs laps around wage growth. The connection between financial stability and the costly downstream impacts can’t be ignored.
Just recently, I was talking with two local nonprofit leaders who work on hunger and suicide prevention. In the past year, the need for their services decreased. They surmised that because of financial support during the pandemic, including eviction prevention, people were able to meet basic needs and experienced improved mental well-being.
This fortified another recent conversation with a colleague working in behavioral health care. She shared that the best recent addiction treatment successes in her organization have been through cash payments to clients who follow their treatment plans and remain sober.
United Way’s vision is to support people moving from “getting by” to thriving in Larimer County. Currently, our work includes increased investments in child care including:
- WomenGive program for single mothers returning to school
- The Larimer Child Care Fund for families making too much to qualify for government assistance but not enough to pay for the high cost of care (many of the eligible recipients are teachers themselves!)
- General operating dollars to our small and mighty group of nonprofit child care centers
- Working closely with all three of our school districts to identify ways to expand before and after-school enrichment for school-aged children that align with the work hours of their adult caregivers (because very few of us have jobs that end at 2:30 or can accommodate early releases from school for heat waves or snow days!)
Beyond child and youth care while adults work, United Way is investing in housing, tax preparation assistance, and is looking ahead at ways we can expand options for increased earning among those who are barely gettin’ by. We believe our community’s shared value of everyone having the resources they need to thrive will help us be a Larimer United.
Onward and UPward!