Allie Colosky
The Bulletin

Officials with the local nonprofit United Way have adopted a new focus when this year’s annual campaign announced its $1.5 million fundraising goal.

United Way of Deschutes County’s top priorities have always been education, income and health, but simply raising money for people in need is not enough, said Diana Fischetti, director of development and marketing. The group wants to reduce childhood trauma and improve resiliency, without which one traumatic event in someone’s upbringing could set off a chain reaction and have an impact throughout that person’s life.

“The idea is that if we put more money upstream that is related to resilience, over time we will reduce the need for some immediate services,” Fischetti said.

Reducing childhood trauma and improving the support system around children who have faced a traumatic event is United Way’s new mission, and the nonprofit announced on Tuesday at its annual campaign kickoff breakfast that it will be working with Community Impact Partners to help address the root of the social need.

The campaign goal of $1.5 million will increase the scope of grants awarded to organizations whose visions are in line with United Way, Fischetti said. United Way has also reached out to multiple educators and researchers at Oregon State University to develop a metric system in order to gauge future success of the various programs.

“We will continue to invest in the community and the most impacted population,” she said. “We are just adding social change work with organizations to come up with a shared agenda.”

In 2016, United Way donated $250,000 to 21 various local nonprofits. Other organizations that have partnered with United Way include Better Together, Early Learning Hub of Central Oregon and Friends of the Children Central Oregon.

Donations are accepted through United Way’s website, and ways to volunteer are also available.

— Reporter: 541-617-7829, acolosky@bendbulletin.com

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