Saturday, Jul 23, 2016
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United living

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It should be an inalienable right in America that every person has the opportunity to build a better life. But economic hardships, unemployment, and disparities in health care and education have stifled that possibility for many.

The United Way of Greater Toledo, which already plays a pivotal role in the lives of thousands of people in the region, continues to find ways to help the neediest individuals and families. It is important work, especially in economically hard-hit communities such as ours.

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Last week, the United Way of Greater Toledo joined dozens of affiliations nationwide that have launched an initiative called LIVE UNITED 2020. Here, efforts will focus on Lucas, Wood, and Ottawa counties. The goal of the program is to improve the residents’ quality-of-life in education, income, and health.

What makes this endeavor appealing is that the organization plans to achieve meaningful and measurable progress during a five-year campaign by gauging its success through scorecards that will quantify goals. Too often, it’s difficult to see how social services can impact a community. But setting and tracking goals in real time should smartly target available resources.

By 2020, the United Way of Greater Toledo wants to increase by at least 10 percent the number of students who graduate from high school in Lucas County, and raise by at least 10 percent the number of children ready to succeed academically when entering kindergarten.

The organization also plans to help make 9,712 households in Lucas and Ottawa counties — and at least 6,318 people in Wood County — financially stable through work-force development programs and economic counseling.

Health goals include increasing by at least 10 percent the number of people who are connected to health services in Lucas County, and connecting at least 11,565 children and adults to dental care in Wood County.

The United Way of Greater Toledo has, smartly, targeted one of its charitable initiatives toward basic needs such as education, health care, and income. As state aid dwindles, minorities and disadvantaged families especially need help. Childhood, health, and financial programs are among some of the smartest investments charities can make. They prepare people for a brighter and self-sufficient future.

The United Way of Greater Toledo has a strong track record of working through agencies and programs to support families, help rebuild lives, and sustain communities. This new initiative should continue that work by improving the basic quality of life for those who need it most.

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