United Way of the Brazos Valley does not function as a typical volunteer organization, supporting one single cause. Instead, United Way focuses on programs that cover health, education and financial stability for all residents in the Brazos Valley.
According to their website, United Way of the Brazos Valley is investing a total of $325,000 during 2018-2021 through their Community Impact Grants, which benefit organizations such as Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach, Brazos Valley Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Sexual Assault Resource Center, Texas Ramp Project, and The Salvation Army. Among the programs United Way has a hand in is 2-1-1 Texas, which is a free information call center that can connect callers to community resources such as programs for drug abuse, food pantries and child care.
Another program, the Early Literacy Program, aims to ensure that children grow up with access to books, and provide every newborn baby in the Brazos Valley with a Baby Bundle tote, which includes a board book, reading tips, a toy and resources on when the newborn should reach certain developmental milestones as they age.
Alison Prince, president and CEO of United Way of the Brazos Valley, said the United Way of the Brazos Valley is a community-based organization that works hard for those that live there.
“We are all about solving community issues,” Prince said. “We bring together the right people to do that, so we will look different at certain times based on what we are trying to solve. We identify an issue, understand the biggest needs, raise money for that and grant money to nonprofits to address these community issues.”
Peggi Goss, vice president of community impact at United Way of the Brazos Valley, said this organization is a connector of nonprofits in the community hoping to ensure a smooth transition of information from one nonprofit to another.
“We collaborate with non profits in the community, and we look for ways to solve complex issues together instead of working independently so we can make a larger impact,” Goss said. “We want people to understand that we are a community organization designed to help other organizations do their work better.”
Goss said Aggies who may want to work on these types of issues and are also looking for a club to join should consider United Way.
Matthew Adams, public health sophomore and president of Texas A&M Student United Way, said Student United Way and its members meet twice a month for a hands-on volunteering opportunity such as making blankets or painting rocks.
“Student United Way unites Aggies and allows them to give back to the community through direct hands on volunteering,” Adams said. “We have two meetings each month … which directly benefits one of United Way of the Brazos Valley’s community partners. In between meetings, we offer a myriad of volunteer opportunities for our members to go to.”
Student United Way is a way for students to come together to solve issues in the community, Adams said.
“We believe in the power of uniting to achieve a goal, both as Aggies and [everyday] residents of the Brazos Valley,” Adams said. “We are uniquely blessed to have officers on the team who have been a part of United Way all over the state who bring 15-plus years of experience to the table.”
Despite the heavy workload college students face, Adams said Student United Way is open to new members and constantly looking for people to join the team and help serve the community.
“As a somewhat new student organization, our goal was to originally recruit members and spread the word,” Adams said. “We have several fundraisers planned, collaboration with other UWBV programs and even businesses approaching us to partner.”
Prince said the ultimate goal of United Way is to change the world by ending issues such as hunger and poverty, but that realistically United Way works to solve local, community-based problems.
“In a perfect world, we want to end all of those impediments to a good life, like low wages, hunger, poverty and so much more,” Prince said. “But that’s hard in reality. Ultimately, our goal is to improve this community through collaborative efforts with our partners.”