United Way celebrates power of community non-profits

By John Bailey



Darlene Schronce knows better than most the value of non-profit partnerships.

“Places like Adult Life Programs help people like me, with mental and physical disabilities, teaching them how to get along in the world and how to have responsibilities in their life,” she said. 

ready to race

Schronce is a participant at Adult Life’s Conover center and experiences the power of non-profit collaboration every day.

“The United Way is essential because it funds places like Adult Life, and I get here by Greenway (Public Transportation) so Greenway is important to the community because it provides transportation to places like (Adult Life) for people who don't have transportation."

Schronce’s story is just one of thousands occurring every day, stories of multiple non-profits working together to improve the lives of those in need.

The Catawba County United Way (CCUW) has partnered with Hickory Motor Speedway to celebrate these collaborative efforts during the Ready to Race United event on Aug. 21 – a free night of racing for the public.

Starting at 4 p.m., local non-profits will be available prior to the start of racing to share information about their services. 

Last year, there were more than 230,000 requests for help from non-profits through NC 211, the United Way of North Carolina’s health and human services information help line.

“Partnerships are important as they allow us to focus on our core mission as agencies while addressing those we serve in a holistic manner,” Catawba County United Way Executive Director Mark Bumgarner said. “Working together we can more effectively meet the needs of those we serve, and thus strengthen our community.” 

Neighbors Network President Dianna-Lee Keever said partnerships regularly create opportunities for their clients to thrive.

She described a recent partnership between Neighbors Network, Inc. and Brookdale Falling Creek. Together they provided a way for one of their clients to move from living independently in her own home to living independently with the supports and services she needs for daily living. 

“As time progresses there is now a strong safety net in place to address possible increased care. A collaborative win,” Keever said.

This is a recurring pattern for all local non-profits.

Community partnerships are key to everything the Red Cross does,” Executive Director American Red Cross Blue Ridge Piedmont Chapter Scott Loudermelt said.

First responders, churches, schools, governmental organizations, non-profits, civic groups, and our neighbors allow us to pursue the Red Cross mission of alleviating human suffering,” Loudermelt said.

Exodus Homes Executive Director Rev. Reggie Longcrier said, “the synergy of partnering is the highest goal in human services and something we should all strive for.”   

Women’s Resource Center Director of Programs Tara Thomas said her agency is, “thankful to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and works every day to be a meaningful addition not only to our clients, but to our community partners as well.”

If you ever wondered who to turn to in Catawba County when you or someone you know needed help, the CCUW’s free Ready to Race United event on Aug. 21 at the Hickory Motor Speedway is the perfect place to answer that question.

Non-profit agencies will be set up by 4 p.m. and gates open at 5 p.m. with races starting at 7 p.m. For more information, call the Catawba County United Way at 828-327-6851.