Keep the Light on Poverty

Our United Way recently identified POVERTY as the over-arching, Big Issue, affecting southeast Louisiana.

We also recently took the initiative and extra steps to ensure that our United Way’s main offices were as energy efficient as possible as we continue to push to be leaner and greener.  With grant funds we were able to install energy efficient lighting that is producing a savings of about $12,000 per year!  And, just recently, our building engineers installed motion sensor switches in all of our offices and meeting rooms to insure that lights are turned off once a room is vacated.  Pretty simple, you walk into an office or meeting room and the lights automatically turn on.  You leave, they turn off minutes later.  Trust me, it works and does not rely on whether we are aware of the issue created when lights are left on, unnecessarily, for extended periods of time.  It is simply a matter of strategic convenience that yields a positive outcome.  So, what’s my point about POVERTY?  Glad you asked!  Now, read on.

The more efficient, and effective we are, the more resources we can put toward addressing our region’s biggest issue, POVERTY. 

We have even gone so far as to narrow our focus and thinking on three key areas.  Education, Health and Economic Opportunity.  We know that academic success, healthy lifestyles and access to economic opportunities are keys to life-long success.  We even know, pretty specifically, key drivers in each of those areas.  And, at this very moment, we are gathering evidence-based best practices that have proven successful in addressing education, health and economic opportunity barriers in other communities around the country.  We are working with regional thought-leaders to develop a vision statement for our work in addressing POVERTY and which evidenced-based, best practices, would work best in our region and the communities we serve.  We are making progress and it shows in the enthusiasm present in our Board Room and various committee meetings.  So, again, what is my point?  Well, thanks for sticking with me.

Addressing the Big Issue of POVERTY requires that, in this case, we leave the lights on the issue.  Not, in a strategically convenient way, do we let the lights turn off when we redirect our attention.  If we do, and we only rely on our episodic exposure to the issue, minutes become hours, hours become days, days become years and we may have missed countless opportunities to address the Big Issue or, at a minimum, make progress.  So, this is one case where I would suggest we leave the lights on all the time.  The Big Issue of POVERTY, affects us all.  But, more importantly, all of us can affect the Big Issue of POVERTY.