This is how stuff gets done.
Take a well-run non-profit like the United Way of Northern New Jersey and have them connect with a committee from an economic segment like the region’s commercial real estate professionals and suddenly there is a list of projects that needs doing and a way to pay for them.
The partnership this year raised $110,000, which could fund 36 individual projects. Over 13 years, the partnership has raised $1.66 million which was used to complete 113 capital projects for non-profit agencies.
Agencies that help the homeless, seniors citizens in need of home repairs, pre-school students, Girl Scouts, battered women, disabled workers, the mentally ill and others. The people who often get forgotten.
The work done is often beyond the scope of the tight budgets of these agencies, which focus most of their funds on services for their clients. So the roof, the stairs, the parking lot, that new van, or security system, new computers, carpeting, a needed expansion of the facility get put off.
That what this funding does.
And added to $2.3 million Morris County will dispense through community development block grants and other funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, it adds up to a form of economic stimulus that spreads good throughout the community.
But more, each of these repair jobs involve the purchase of materials, designs and put workers to the job of fixing things.
Since these projects also encourage volunteers to join the effort, there is a wider community impact than can be measured in the cost of materials.
At the luncheon last week that announced these awards, keynote speaker Timothy Lizura, senior vice president of the state’s Economic Development Authority was speaking about the efforts to revise the state’s tax code, when he made this comment, but it applies to the joint effort of the United Way and the commercial real estate community.
“If we don’t reinvest in our communities, then our communities will not be sustainable,“ Lizura said.
That’s what this funding does. It sustains: One carpet, one roof repair, one plumber working, one carpenter fixing a senior’s door, one new sidewalk, one new boiler, one new playground, one new desk at a time.
It’s how we get things fixed, how we move forward.
How we remind ourselves that there are plenty of seats on this bus.
Michael Stephen Daigle
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