Nonprofit Spotlight: River Cities United Way

Ashley Wood has been spreading good will in Mohave County through the River Cities United Way. And last week, she organized a local jail-a-thon fundraiser to benefit the organization.

The event is based on issuing warrants for “arrest” and the “perpetrator” pays “bail” that translates into funding for United Way.

“We are always looking for creative ways to raise money so we came up with this fun fundraiser,” said Wood, Director of Community Impact with River Cities United Way.

Wood has been with the organization for eight years and says she enjoys the feeling she gets from helping her community.

“It doesn’t matter how bad your day is, whenever you help others it definitely puts your own life in prospective.”

Lyn Demarat poses with Marquita McKnight and her Wanted poster at the Jail-A-Thon. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Lyn Demarat poses with Marquita McKnight and her Wanted poster at the River Cities United Way Jail-A-Thon. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

River Cities United Way interacts with the community by bringing awareness and raising funds for partner agencies.

In addition to fundraising, the organization also offers free prescription discount cards for individuals that need help paying for medication and also sponsors “Kids Bright and Healthy” which assists homeless and low-income children get access to vision, dental and medical care.

On a national level, the United Way organization first began in Denver in 1889, when two ministers, a priest, a Denver woman and a rabbi recognized the need for partnered action to address their city’s social and welfare problems.

Frances Wisebart Jacobs, the Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J.O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman together planed the first United Way campaign for 10 health and welfare agencies.

The United Way organization soon served as an agent to collect funds for local charities, coordinate relief services, refer and counsel clients to cooperating agencies and make emergency assistance grants available.

Fast forward more than 125 years later, the organization is still focused on making a difference in people’s lives around the country and here in Mohave County.

Contributions assist low-income families in need of educational assistance, food, clothing and shelter.

“We are an organization that allows employers or any donor to contribute to one of the community impact areas, and we will process a restricted contribution to any qualified
501 (c ) (3),” explained Lyn Demaret, CEO and President of River Cities United Way during an on-air interview with local radio Station KNTR 106.3 last week.

The organization guarantees that proceeds raised in the community stays in the community. The staff, along with volunteers and advocates that want to make change happen in the communities play a big role in the organization’s success.

“To be involved with this organization really enriches your life. It is just very empowering,” Wood said.

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