In 2022, I had the opportunity to lead United Way’s efforts to put together a new strategic plan that will help guide the work of our organization for years to come. For an organization with a mission of Giving • People • Hope and that focuses on moving the needle on issues that affect our most vulnerable neighbors, a strategic plan can be quite an undertaking. I am so grateful to our board, our planning committee, our Community Partners, and the team here at United Way for the work they put into a strong plan designed to give hope to thousands of people across the South Plains in tremendous ways.
In 2023, here’s what you can expect from United Way:
First, we’re continuing our commitment to our children and the future of our community, by working to increase access to educational programs and materials to promote literacy and educational attainment for people of all ages. Basically, education matters.
Second, we’ll be continuing to support local prevention efforts and access to services for victims of child abuse and neglect, sex trafficking, and family violence. In other words, making sure every person feels safe in their home and in their community, and when they don’t, that they have resources available to support them.
Third, we’re continuing to work on an initiative first identified in our 2017 Strategic Plan—advocating for local access to quality mental health services and supports. Because mental health is health.
And finally, a new initiative added to this formal plan, but one we’ve been unofficially working on for many years, economic mobility—creating opportunities to move households towards financial stability. This is an issue that continues to stare us all of us in the face, especially now, as we continue to deal with an uncertain economy.
If you look back at the first three, the success of all of them is often significantly impacted by household financial stability. We’re looking forward to sharing more about ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employeed) with updated data expected in 2023. We’re also looking forward to working with our local and state governments, local school districts, business owners, and other stakeholders to find creative ways to support economic mobility for all our neighbors on the South Plains.
We’ve got big plans and there will be ways for you to get involved. We’re excited for the future and grateful for your support in 2022. Thank you for Giving • People • Hope through Lubbock Area United Way and our Community Partners.
2022 Board Chair
137,923 Lives Impacted
In 2021, United Way funded programs through our Community Partners impacted 137,923 lives across the South Plains region. These services remove barriers for individuals and families and ensure that our local communitites as a whole are successful.
Lubbock Area United Way funded programs provide services in a 15-county area, creating opportunities to thrive for individuals and families across the South Plains. Within Lubbock County, services are not just concentrated to one area of the county. The map shows how many people in each zip code were impacted by United Way services in 2021.
Throughout 2022, we continued to work with various local stakeholders to move the needle on our strategic initiatives.
In January, we partnered with the Lubbock ISD, Frenship ISD, Lubbock-Cooper ISD, and Voice of Hope to create and distribute a training video for educators on sex-trafficking in West Texas. This video was made available to every secondary school campus.
In the spring semester, we hosted four monthly read-a-long events with various elementary campuses across Lubbock, Frenship, and Lubbock-Cooper ISDs. 1,140 students participated with 1,125 books in English and 15 books in Spanish being sent home. Parents and caregivers received information on how to access critical resources provided by our Community Partners. Thanks to our sponsors, we were also able to give small appreciation items to each teacher.
In May, we partnered with the West Texas Mental Health Initiative for Mental Health Month. The “Mental Health is Health” campaign worked with school counselors, health care administrators, pastors, human resources directors, and mental health professionals to educate the public on how to connect to resources in our local community. The campaign reached more than 19,700 people.
We also worked with local school districts and our partner agencies in May to promote PreK registration. The campaign reached more than 8,800 people.
During the summer, we distributed 835 books to our Community Partners for their summer programs. We also partnered with PBS Kids to pass out free books at the Lubbock Arts Festival and the PBS Kids Summer Adventure at the Science Spectrum.
In August, we hosted a school supply store for employees of our Community Partners. Agency employees “shopped” for needed school supplies for their families from composition books to crayons, to wet wipes. Remaining supplies went to Communities in Schools to be distributed to students in need. 13,018 items were distributed.
In October, we released the 23rd volume of the Community Status Report. The report compiles local, state, and national data to create a point-in-time snapshot of our community. It shines a light on important local issues, helps to identify service gaps, details what progress has been made, and how far we have to go. The report is a valuable resource for nonprofits, local government, and other community stakeholders. (View the full report at liveunitedlubbock.org/communitystatusreport)
We also hosted a spring and fall book fair for our Community Partners. Partner agencies restocked their shelves with new and slightly used books. At the fall book fair, we also handed out more than 22,000 individually wrapped snacks donated by Parkhill employees.
United Way partners with local nonprofits to address the roots of significant issues in the Lubbock area. This collaborative effort allows us to wrap our efforts around a problem and tackle it from many angles, producing measurable outcomes that are changing lives on the South Plains.
We are committed to transparency and accountability. We want donors to feel comfortable that gifts to United Way are being invested wisely. All of our Community Partners participate in an annual review process that ensures that we live up to this commitment.
Long before the 2022 Annual Campaign began, Campaign Chair Laura Vinson’s vision started to inspire our community toward new hope. This vision was summed up in one word—light.
Following so much darkness in the years before, Laura’s vision helped us to find grace for one another and our neighbors. It encouraged many to step up in tremendous ways as our South Plains communities began the difficult jobs of stabilization and recovery.
At the August kickoff event, keynote speaker Dr. Cicely Alexander asked the audience to answer the call to reflect light in our community. She encouraged the audience, saying:
“Some of us have a vision that we have allowed to grow dim or an idea that has been set on the back burner of our minds. Some of us have ignored the options to serve, and we push down that tug in our hearts to give. There is no better time like the present to answer the call.”
Thousands took up the charge to reflect light. Their contributions will go to meet real needs on the South Plains and to support the exponential work of United Way’s Community Partners.
In addition to the dollars given by individuals and companies, two special events added more than $234,936 to the Annual Campaign total—the Jacky Pierce Charitable Classic hosted by United Supermarkets and the 15th Annual LIVE UNITED Golf Tournament.
The combined gifts of individuals and companies and the funds raised at these events resulted in $5,811,227 contributed to the 2022 Annual Campaign.
Rita Harmon Volunteer Service Award
RITA HARMON VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARD MARGARITA OLIVAREZ
Margarita Olivarez is a native of Lubbock. Margie, to many who know her, is a constant force in the Lubbock community. She is a conduit and activator for young women and the greater Hispanic community of the South Plains. She is best known for her passion for volunteerism, with a focus on education. Margie is a walking testament of hope: overcoming the obstacles of being a teenage mother, a valiant cancer survivor, and a non-traditional college student. She aspires to encourage anyone she meets that anything is possible, all you need is ganas (desire).
Currently Margie volunteers for Lubbock Parks & Recreation, Raiders Rojos, HACEMOS, Our Lady of Grace Guadalupanas, Camp Rio Blanco Circle of Friends, and Lubbock Latino Chamber of Commerce of the South Plains Board. She is also actively involved with the Girl Scout Lubbock Advisory Committee and the Lubbock Area United Way Community Impact Committee. She has been a Girl Scout leader for 25 years, a journey that started with her daughter as a Brownie.
Throughout the years, she has received numerous awards from various organizations. YWCA Women of Excellence, Girl Scouts of the Texas Oklahoma Plains Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement, Jefferson Award, LULAC Community Leader of the Year, and Hispana Inspiradora to name a few. In addition, for the past 15 years she has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for volunteering 300 or more hours annually.
Margie holds a master's in organizational management from Wayland Baptist University. She has been employed with AT&T for over 20 years. Margie has also been employed part-time at Ramar Communications for over 20 years covering community events through the Hispanic Awareness Segment every Thursday morning. This segment was initiated by Margie in an effort to bring positive awareness, resources and recognition in the Lubbock Community. She is also the co-founder of Training for Life Racing, which puts on the annual Dia de los Muertos 5K and Fun Run.
Margie and her husband Tony have been married for 37 years. She has two children, Michael and Soila, and one grandson, Javier. In her spare time (yes, she has a bit of that), she enjoys crocheting, a gift passed to her by her late mother.
Community Partner Volunteer of the Year
Tom and Kathy Krile
Tom and Kathy Krile have been volunteering with the Catholic Charities Resale Center for 15 years. Both found unique ways to use their talents. Tom, a retired electrical engineer, checks and repairs electrical items such as lamps and appliances. Kathy mends and organizes items such as curtains, sheets, and fabric.
With 15 years of service, the Kriles have not only donated hundreds of hours of time but have also essentially helped raised thousands of dollars to benefit Catholic Charities clients.
United Way Volunteer of the Year
UMC Health System United Way Team
For many years, UMC Health System has utilized a team approach to share with every employee about United Way and the importance of the campaign to South Plains communities. Team members represent many departments, and most are current or former Loaned Executives who have firsthand experience with United Way’s impact. They share their experiences and how United Way supports UMC’s patients and employees.