541-773-5339, 60 Hawthorne Street, Medford OR 97504 office@unitedwayofjacksoncounty.org

And so it is done

And so it is done, for now…

I knew we’d get here and I thought I’d feel great and proud of what we’ve done at United Way during the COVID19 crisis.  I do feel great and proud of what we’ve done and I feel profoundly sad that we have exhausted the funding for the COVID19 relief.  There are still places to go for help and we all need to do what we can to make sure the word gets out for folks.

Why?  Because we’re not to the really hard part yet.  Many companies are still using CARES Act funding to keep payroll going and many individuals still haven’t received their unemployment.  And there will be more layoffs.  Our businesses can’t keep opening and closing and/or being limited to a minimum amount of customers.  We need to take needed precautions and take care of one another.

There are thousands of dollars available for rent relief and utility assistance.  Please make sure you know where to send folks to get on lists for help.  And it takes time.  Immediate relief isn’t always immediate.  Here are places to call for help:

•             211 – for information and referral resources

•             Access – 541.779.6691

•             Ashland Resource Center – 541.631.2235

•             Housing Authority (only if tenant) – 541.779.5785

•             Mercy’s Gate – 541.601.6190

•             St. Vincent de Paul – 541.772.3828

United Way has raised $386,468 and we have spent $386,912.  Yes, we went over a little.  And we had to stop.  For now.  We have helped 1,097 individuals and families and 42 agencies who helped countless more.  Each one of these folks is a story.  A story of hard work, seeking assistance often for the first time, of having worked in a service economy getting by until they weren’t:  a mom with kids who made tamales to support her family has doubled up with her sister and her kids and still can’t get by; a woman who worked three jobs, not just one, to get by and had never asked for help before; too many dealing with violence in their lives or hunger or confusion or loss; and, the man who needed his rent assistance check reissued because the first one was stolen from a mailbox in Ashland and now is being held as evidence in California.  Even the California State Police called to verify that it wasn’t going to be cashed.  Here’s how the money was spent :

Nonprofit Capacity18,470
Mental Health8,000
Transitional Housing3,000
DV Exit1,000
Baby Supplies736
Business License200
Property Taxes136
Drivers’ Licenses120
DNA Test100
Birth Certificate43

As the system falls apart, we have to follow the thread or find the thread.  Years ago, one of my sisters was awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant and one of the coolest people I’ve ever met told me a story of growing in the Philippines.  Her name was Tuesday and she shared, on one especially hard day, that in the Philippines during typhoons, children were roped to trees to help save their lives.  And she shared that old wisdom about the knot at the end of the rope, there’s no knot.  Right now, there’s no knot.  Tuesday was right.

We can and will work together to create change in how we serve people in need.  There are many great efforts underway.  Be part of the solution.  Now.

The Way it Is, William Stafford

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among

things that change. But it doesn’t change.

People wonder about what you are pursuing.

You have to explain about the thread.

But it is hard for others to see.

While you hold it you can’t get lost.

Tragedies happen; people get hurt

or die; and you suffer and get old.

Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.

You don’t ever let go of the thread.

In closing, here’s the gratitude from last week and today…

Oh, thank you very much!!! I’m so grateful to you and to those who are donating funds to help.

Thank you. Brenda

Thank you so much from all of us. Know that I’ll put back in 2 keep the cycle going when I’m able 2. I appreciate it God bless.  Justin

Thank you so much. For your help and I am forever so grateful. Vanessa

Thank you so much!   You are a life saver!  Vicky

I really want to thank you so much!  You have really made a difference.  I so really appreciate your help!  Thank you so much, Thomas

Thank you so much! I appreciate a million tons.  Kyleigh


Feels good to do good…

Today was a bit calmer and we had the privilege of helping a man get back to his wife in Salem.  More on that in a moment…

We have raised $379,468 and we have spent $334,774 on 922 families/individuals and we’ve given grants to organizations to help others through 40 different groups.  Here’s the breakdown:

Unhoused — Hotel Nights18,457
Nonprofit Capacity17,470
Mental Health8,300
Transitional Housing3,000
DV Exit1,000
Business License200
Property Taxes136
Drivers License120
DNA Test100
Birth Certificate43

A man dropped by today and said an officer referred him here for help.  He was quite lost.  He has “a bit of dementia” as he shared and he ended up here somehow.  He’s been here a week and he realized he needs to get back to Salem and his wife Debi.  He asked if I’d call her to verify he was telling the truth and say he’d be on his way soon.  We bought him a one-way bus ticket to Salem for $64.99 and when I called his wife, she cried and cried.  I did too.  You might too and we can thank an anonymous MPD office who felt like we could help.  He’s on his way to Salem now and gets there at 7:40 pm.  Feels good to do good!


Listening and Action

These are remarkable times.  We have much work to do.  As I was driving in this morning, I saw a guy painting imaginary graffiti.  It made me think what I would spray paint if I did that.  And I realized very quickly, I’d paint Dr. Cornel West’s quote about justice.  He said, “Justice is what love looks like in public.”  I’ve always believed that love is the number quality of leadership.

Now is a time of listening and action, not talking.  This isn’t going to be a long blog because there are so many important voices BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) speaking and we should be listening and acting.

There are so many resources and places to turn to learn, often for the first time.  Please consider sharing yours with our United Way and me.  I can always do better and I am committed to that each day for the rest of my life.

From Crib to Cremation

Our vision at United Way of Jackson County is creating positive community change.  Our mission is to mobilize caring to affect change.  I know we’re delivering on the promise right now.  We pride ourselves on being agile and responsive and with the COVID19 emergency relief fund, we’ve done just that. 

As of yesterday, May 19, 2020, we have raised more than $360,000 and we’ve expenses $263,973 already!  This has gone to help 720 families and 37 nonprofits.  Yesterday, we helped a family of 7.  Four of the 7 had jobs but all are laid off and 3 are still in school.  The family is frightened.  Some of the unemployment has started but not all of it yet.  And as I recapped the expenses we’ve paid for people, yesterday I was struck by the full circle of life.

We’ve helped with housing, utilities, childcare, mental health, transportation, and lots of other things that are expenses in our daily lives.  We also purchased a crib for a baby born a month early and the family wasn’t ready or able to afford a crib.  And we’ve paid for the cremation of a young woman’s father.  Losing one’s dad is hard and when you can’t afford those expenses it seems harder to me.  It took three agencies to help their family and we all did.  Thank you Reclaiming Lives and Teresa McCormick Center.

I’ve been enjoying A View From My Window on Facebook each day.  There are photos each day, sometimes several times a day, from people all over the world and the view out their window from their homes.  There are a lot of local folks on the page which is how I heard about it.  I hope that if photography takes you away, you check it out. 

I hope you’re noticing what’s going on around you.  As I drove in this morning, I watched as more and more people are stirring each day outside — driving, waiting for buses and waking up outside where they live.

The challenges we had going in are still the challenges we have as are in Phase 1 re-opening.  And we have new challenges.  More people than ever before need help.  People who didn’t think they’d need help are needing help.  Remember all those news stories about Americans with less than two months of savings…

We have the opportunity to come out of this pandemic and recover our community, our economy, our caring in new and innovative ways.  Let’s do that.  #LiveUnited!


Some days the generosity of this community is just overwhelming.  We asked for more than 2,000 masks from our community so that our beloved nonprofit workers would be able to #MaskUp!  And people are delivering each day!  My office is a little flooded and not being a seamstress, it reminds me of my Grandma’s sewing room!

There are so many colors, ties, elastic!  Wow!  Today we are fulfilling requests from many of our partners, thanks to seamstresses and seamsters!  I learned a new word today:  seamster, the male version of a seamstress.  I knew it couldn’t be seamstressor!  Maybe you knew already.

We’re helping CASA, Children’s Advocacy Center, Consumer Credit Counseling Service, Compass House, Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team, Roots & Wings, Phoenix Counseling Center, OnTrack, Rogue Valley YMCA and the Teresa McCormick Center!  And we still need more than 1,000! 

The fabrics are so fun!  There are Cat in the Hat, Seahawks, pheasants, t-shirts, fishing!  It’s hard not to want to keep them!  Thank you!  Wow, it’s so true that when we ask for something specific, people will deliver.  Thank you so very much!  Please know that your gifts of mask will help people in need receive much needed service in a more protected environment.  You are making a difference!