Give Local, Give United Way of Missoula County

Why I give, and you should too.

As a university student, I work two jobs, buy groceries maybe once a month and am always strapped for cash. An extra ten dollars in my pocket gets me through the next couple days. Unlike myself, maybe you are a recent graduate starting to make payments on your student’s loans, or you are welcoming a newborn into your home. Regardless of where our plans have taken us, Missoula’s young adults are continuing to work hard to provide for themselves and/or their family.

Today’s young adults born after 1980, known as Generation Y or the millennial generation, is the most educated generation in American history and, like the baby boomers, one of the largest. Yet we are facing one of the worst job markets, we are in debt, and so many of us are unemployed. Yet, unlike generations before us, we have been forced to rethink success as something more than just material prosperity.

We are starting to focus more on living life defined by a meaning – we are focused on making a difference, finding a purpose filled with value and impact. Often, we are contributing this longing of meaning in our life with the ability to provide and give to others. But how do we give, and where do we give? As young adults in search of meaning, it is important to give to organizations, charities and community programs that align with our similar beliefs and values. It is important to remember that the extra ten dollars in your pocket can go a lot further than you think.

Give Local Missoula.

Tuesday, May 6 marks the inaugural 24 hour online fundraising blast across Missoula to boost awareness for 90 local nonprofits. Give Local Missoula is a part of a national event called Give Local America that solicits community members to donate to their favorite cause during a time period in which their money will be matched by a local pool of sponsorship, meaning every gift will have double the impact. For young adults searching for an organization that is important to them, Give Local Missoula offers an online portal with each nonprofits mission, making it easier to find those that resonate with us.

This year’s goal is to raise $100,000 from combined online and in-person donations. The minimum donation is only ten dollars.

Give to United Way of Missoula County.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by the words: impact, engage, challenges, ability, connects and committed that are constantly being thrown at us by nonprofits. However, as young adults of Missoula (or beyond), it is important to be present in the affairs of our community, because as hard as it is to admit, one day we will have to drop the “young” in young adult, and lead our community, together, for the greater good. Give Local Missoula allows us to search and find nonprofits across Missoula whose mission aligns with that of our own. Take a moment to learn about the many nonprofits across Missoula that benefit and provide essential services and programs in our community.

As we spend time searching for nonprofits that our close to our hearts, we find ourselves searching for the building blocks of a meaningful life. United Way of Missoula County builds a better community for all, especially in the areas of education, income and health — what United Way calls the building blocks for a good life. A quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement, and good health.

Imagine that one charitable donation, just ten dollars, could touch thousands of lives. A single gift to United Way of Missoula County does just that.

It puts food on the tables of hungry families and homebound seniors; provides caring mentors and safe activities for kids after school; shelters women and children fleeing domestic violence; screens low-income women for breast and cervical cancer; takes care of children whose families can’t or won’t care for them; helps kids and families repair their shattered lives when a parent or sibling dies – and the list goes on.

The 34 carefully screened, regularly evaluated programs United Way supports at 21 nonprofit agencies in Missoula County – and another dozen in Ravalli County – change and save lives every day. Everyday these organizations and programs affect the lives of many in our own backyard, solving our community challenges. The success of our community depends on these services, the success of these services depend on funding from United Way, and the success of United Way of Missoula County depends on the support of our community.

Join the action that supports our community everyday by giving back to the beautiful town we call home. Everyone, young and old, have the power to change lives today and create a stronger tomorrow. Be a part of the change.

On Tuesday, May 6, 2014, anyone can give online at