The following letter to the editor was submitted on Dec. 18, 2015.

I have the pleasure of serving as your President and Chief Executive Officer for United Way of Southwest Alabama. In celebrating my 38th year of service to United Ways across the country, I’m always struck by the incredible diversity of United Way support as well as the generosity of our partners from across the community and I’ve seen the same largesse in southwest Alabama.

United Way of Southwest Alabama partners with 49 different agencies and helps fund over 100 different social service programs that provide a continuum of services helping families from cradle to career and beyond. Your contributions to United Way allow these much needed programs and community services to provide for our neighbors and if, with your ongoing support, we reach our 2015 campaign goal of $5.1 million, this important work can continue.

For almost 90 years, the public and private sector, business, and labor have come together in common purpose to advance the common good. United Way is founded on a simple but profound principle: what unites us in southwest Alabama is ultimately more powerful than what divides us.

Today your United Way of Southwest Alabama campaign stands at 60 percent of goal having raised $3,060,000. But while our work is not yet complete, our $5.1 million goal is within eyesight. For such a time as this, we work harder and stronger, opening the door for every member and business in our community to stand up, be counted, and give back in ways that will influence generations to come.

United Way embodies this spirit of people coming together from all walks of life, from all parts of our community, sharing a common aspiration to create opportunities for a better life for everyone in the community, regardless of where they’re from or where they live. This spirit of people coming together to help each other is summed up in the sentiment of “One Region. One Heart. One Way.”

It’s a powerful idea. One that I find touching and inspirational in the way it describes how southwest Alabama pulls together every year, helping United Way to support the social fabric that ties our community together and create lasting change. The hearts and souls of everyone in our community beat together as one, focus on the task at hand, and make our community a better place to live and work.

As donors and volunteers, you are there each and every day to lend a hand to help people improve the lives of others. That’s the story of United Way and what we’re able to do with the support of so many.

With $2,040,000 yet to raise, this community has a decision to make. Will we reach our community goal? Will businesses and employees who haven’t participated take a moment and give? I know this to be true: when times get tough, we don’t give up; we stand up shoulder-to-shoulder with our neighbors to give hope for a better tomorrow and the help needed to get there.

United Way of Southwest Alabama brings our community together to ensure a safety net for those who are vulnerable, to help our kids succeed in school, to create a pathway for families to achieve stability, and to take care of our neighbors young and old.

United Way is all of us working together for the common good of Mobile, Clarke, Washington and Choctaw counties. It’s the way we build a stronger community. It’s how we put our shared aspirations – for ourselves and others – to work and to bring lasting, positive change to the counties we serve.

Because you care, you volunteer and give, and you make the difference. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you because without you, there would be no way.

Thank you,

Clifford Grimes
UWSWA President & CEO