What’s in a name? For us, the answer is: a lot.
We recently changed our name from United Way of Deschutes County to United Way of Central Oregon. The change reflects the regional catchment area that we have been serving for several years. Our influence touches all of Central Oregon: Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties, as well as the lands of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
We are focused on childhood trauma as the root cause of challenges faced by many in our community and thus began TRACEs – a partnership of nearly 150 organizations and agencies throughout Central Oregon working together to raise awareness of the effects of trauma, and to reduce its incidence and impact, as well as to build resilience in individuals, families, and our community. TRACEs launched in 2017.
As the Backbone Agency supporting this community-wide collective action partnership and serving as fiscal agent, we are facilitating the far reach of TRACEs in our region. Also, as a member of the Steering Committee, we are guiding and funding this work.
As the most reliable agency with capacity to reach our most marginalized community members and a community leader with a deep and longstanding familiarity of agencies serving Central Oregon’s most vulnerable, we have also emerged as a clearinghouse for COVID-19 donations in our region.
In March of this year, we established the Central Oregon COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund and raised $135,000 to distribute to 29 local and regional nonprofits providing essential services and meeting the emergency needs of our community’s hardest hit as the pandemic first started.
Since then, we have pivoted towards ongoing needs that members of our community and the agencies that serve them are facing in adapting to the pandemic. We have created the Central Oregon COVID-19 Recovery & Resilience Fund, from which the first round of grant funding to local agencies will be announced next month.
We have been in existence in our region for 67 year, fighting for the health, education, financial stability, and resilience of every person in our community. New name. Same venerable organization.