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United Way changes good for WBR

Written by Aaron Williams on . Posted in Local

According to Darrin Goss, President/CEO of Capital Area United Way, United Way is in the process of changing how they conduct business and are looking to become more than just a name – they want to be relevant in West Baton Rouge Parish.

During a recent interview with the West Side Journal, Goss said that the Capital Area United Way is implementing the “Impact Business Model.”

“One of the hallmarks of the Community Impact Business Model is that it provides opportunities for the United Way to raise resources for its community work above and beyond traditional workforce campaign,” Goss wrote in a press release. “While at the same time strengthening the United Way’s ability to make a compelling case for support to workplace donors by leveraging their time, talent, and treasure.”

Goss said that he realized that CAUW had become somewhat irrelevant in communities outside of Baton Rouge, but said that the new business model looks to remedy that.

“If there’s community leadership in place, our role is to follow and support. How can we support your work?” Goss said. “You’re relevant based on the needs of that community. What does West Baton Rouge Parish need us to be?”

Goss said that the purpose of United Way is not to simply be a group that helps bring funds for organizations – though that seemed to be the role in the recent past. He said they want to help West Baton Rouge Parish, along with other parishes in the Greater BR area, to achieve goals through helping find volunteers, helping procure funding, and helping to coordinate a system of support.

“We’re transitioning from a traditional ‘give as much money as you can to the United Way and we’ll make sure that these 47 agencies get it’ to an organization that says ‘let’s raise as many resources as we can financially’… but we also want time, we want to engage volunteers and we also want talent,” Goss said.

Kendall Hebert, CAUW senior director or communications and marketing, said that she is excited about the changes the organization is making, as it is sure to help communities throughout its reach.

“We want to bring the local community along in the process, so the community conversations that we’ll have is not just on the corporate side, the school district side, it’s not just the local non-profits and resources, but also the clients themselves,” said Hebert. “It’s not just ‘what does a leader tell us the needs are in a community,’ but ‘what are these people actually telling us that they need from us?’ From the corporate side, the non-profit, the faith based, all these resources together.

“Really it’s bringing people back to that mindset and the concept, overall, of working together to make this a better community. It sounds so cliché, but that’s what we’re here for,” Hebert said.

Goss said that the new model of United Way in not just a change locally, it’s a change that being made in the organization nationwide.

“We’ve just got to think differently about how we’re delivering services. That’s a complete new way of thinking for United Way. And not just locally, but nationally,” Goss said. “It shouldn’t matter where you live in terms of zip code, you should have an opportunity to be successful. Bringing people around the table to not talk about how much funding you’re going to get, but what each person can do to help solve this issue…

Until we start addressing community issues like that, then we’re not going to really move.”

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