THE United Way of Adams County has an impressive streak going, and it will be up to the Quincy area community to keep it alive.
Each year since 1997 the United Way has raised more than $1 million through its annual campaign to assist Adams County citizens through what it terms its three "essential building blocks of success" -- education, financial stability and health.
Those building blocks were established by United Way Worldwide in 2008 when it announced an ambitious 10-year plan to cut by half the number of young people who drop out of high school, to reduce by half the number of lower-income families who are financially unstable, and to increase by one-third the number of youths and adults who are considered healthy.
"It's a broad focus," United Way Executive Director Emily Robbearts said. "Ultimately, we want successful youth who graduate and become accountable adults."
The United Way of Adams County, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, supports a wide variety of programs with its partner agencies, plus numerous countywide initiatives and community support services.
Importantly, United Way officials estimate the organization's outreach touches 46 percent of Adams County residents each year -- about 31,000 people.
Of the more than $45 million the United Way of Adams County has raised during its first 80 years, approximately $40 million has been awarded to partner organizations.
One of the outreaches that benefit from United Way funding is Madonna House, the Quincy shelter for women and families in crisis.
"United Way money is essential for us," Executive Director Joanne Dedert said. "Without that funding, we could not do what we do."
Bryan Langston and Hal Oakley, the co-chairmen of this year's United Way campaign, have made an appeal for even more individuals and businesses to get behind the organization that helps so many.
The plea from Langston and Oakley was reminiscent of a speech from 1977 campaign chairman Irv Schechter, whose words still ring loud and clear today.
"Everything that's being done with this money is good," Schechter said. "It's all good. How can you argue with good?"
No one can argue about the important role the United Way has played in improving the lives of Adams County residents for eight decades.
Most important, those who contribute to the annual campaign today can do so with confidence, knowing that every dollar donated represents a sound investment in the county's future.