TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - On Thursday, the United Way of the Wabash Valley made public its strategic plan. Execitive Director Richard Payonk told News 10 it took about two years to develop this plan. UW staff conducted numerous interviews with individuals and businesses. They received a lot of answers you would expect. Many are concerned about this area's drug problem. They're concerned about the lack of jobs here.
The United Way says most of the concerns they heard in these interviews have their roots in something called "generational poverty."
"We knew that was teh broader issue behind the rest of these," Payonk told us.
About 15% of local residents live in poverty. That's almost one in five people! And then there's the next group of people, those who don't live in poverty but don't make enough to make ends meet. The United Way calls these folks "Alice." This stands for "asset limited, income constrained, employed." The UW put the name "Alice" to faces to humanize and help the public understand who we're talking about. Think of it like this: Alice works hard, but she still doesn't make enough.
"We encounter Alice everyday," Payonk said. "In the grocery store, in the bank, at other places of business where hard working people that we don't realize that are on that very edge of getting by."
In fact, 40% of our residents are "Alice." That's nearly every other person you encounter. The United Way says when people understand that so many people out there are Alice, we can better help them. That's why the United Way has made some changes in moving away from being known as a fund-raising organization to one that helps communities.
"By choosing a bold goal to move struggling families out of Alice, our United Way really starts to be associated with something," Payonk said.
The UW's bold goal is to move 10,000 families to financial stability. Any donation to the UW will be used towards that purpose. Payonk says member agencies are on board with these goals.
To view the strategic plan, click here.