Mr. Bishop (GA) – Mr. Speaker, it is my great honor to extend a heartfelt congratulations to the volunteers, employees and representatives of United Way as they celebrate 125 years of motivating millions of people to advance the common good.
On June 21, 2012, the worldwide network celebrated their United Way Day of Action, a day dedicated to volunteer and community service activities and encouraging others to pledge to become readers, tutors, or mentors. Also, on June 28, 2012, they will be celebrating the official United Way Founders Day, commemorating religious leaders Frances Wisebart Jacobs, the Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J. O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman for founding the Charity Organizations Society, the first “United Way” Organization in Denver, Colorado in 1887.
In 125 years, United Way has expanded beyond Denver and Colorado and beyond the United States to become a network of almost 1,800 community-based United Ways in 45 countries and territories around the world. In as many years, United Way has become one of the biggest and most influential non-profit organizations around the world. To emphasize this point, United Way, in a partnership with the National Football League (NFL), raised more than $1 billion dollars in 1974 – the first time in history that an annual campaign of a single organization had raised this much money.
United Way envisions “a world where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through education, income stability and healthy lives.” For this reason, in 2008, they set forth a 10-year program to achieve three goals by 2018: (1) Improve education and cut the number of high school dropouts (1.2 million students every year) in half; (2) Help people achieve financial stability and get at least half of lower-income families (1.9 million families) on the way to economic independence; (3) Promote healthy lives and increase by one-third the number of youth and adults who are healthy and avoid risky behaviors. These are ambitious goals but I am confident that the thousands of United Way advocates will work tirelessly to achieve them.
I would like to especially recognize the local United Way organizations in Georgia’s Second Congressional District: Greater Valdosta United Way, Inc., United Way of South Central Georgia, United Way of Southwest Georgia, Bainbridge – Decatur United Way, United Way of Colquitt County, and United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley. I applaud the members and volunteers of these organizations for dedicating their time and efforts to support their neighbors in need.
Mr. Speaker, in closing I ask that my colleagues join me in expressing our collective and profound gratitude to the volunteers, employees and representatives of United Way for all they have done to improve the quality of life for the residents of Georgia’s Second Congressional District and all around the world.