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United Way — a valuable partner for the island’s Beacon of HOPE

November 8, 2017
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

As a longtime resident of Pine Island and a member of the Board of Directors of the Beacon of HOPE, I am often asked why we work with United Way. While we receive yearly funding from the United Way that is approximately 10 percent of our budget, the true value of the relationship is the expertise that is available to us through the network of over 95 partners and 230 programs.

The Beacon of HOPE is the United Way house on Pine Island. We are pleased to partner with the United Way of Lee County to help meet the needs of Pine Islanders. As part of the United Way network of Partner Agencies, we are able to greatly expand the Beacon of HOPE's ability to fulfill its purpose. When the Beacon has a special request for help, a call to our United Way partner will provide resources and talents to meet that need.

Lee County United Way is funded by donations and spends only 3 percent and 6 percent respectively on administration and fundraising, with 91 percent going to programs that meet the community's needs. Charity Navigator has given this United Way a score of 95.75 percent out of 100.00.

United Way of Lee County is a local organization. All of the money raised helps the people of our county. The funds do not go to some far-away national organization. Anyone can look at the United Way of Lee County's non-profit tax return to verify that $0.91 of every $1 raised goes to programs that help our people. The organization's IRS 990 is available on the website Very few non-profit organizations have such a low overhead rate.

Here is a brief list of what the Beacon of HOPE's Partnership with United Way provides for our community and neighbors on Pine Island.

* Begin and sustain a very successful GED Program

* Develop a successful elementary and teen after school program

* Deliver meals to seniors on a daily basis

* Provide case management to families, seniors, and low income residents

* Begin and sustain our English as a second language program

* Develop a veterans support program

* Participate in SCSEP senior employment program

* Provide Job Link staff 16 hours weekly to help residents seek and keep jobs.

Please contact any Beacon of HOPE Board Member if you would like to come see our operation first hand or have any questions at 239-283-5123.

Doug Kruger



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