United Way Reports on 2016 Successes, Initiates Community Conversation

a message from our Board of Directors


The United Way of Greater Williamsburg today reported on its 2016 community impact and looked ahead to 2017 when it plans to initiate a community conversation on pressing needs.


“Our United Way’s mission is to ‘improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of people and community,’” said Sam Poole, Chair of the United Way of Greater Williamsburg’s Board of Directors.  “The 2016 results demonstrate how effectively we currently advance this mission.  We look forward to 2017 when we can determine new ways to address our community’s most pressing needs.”


During 2016, the United Way of Greater Williamsburg provided grants critical to the operation of over 24 programs offered by 16 agencies.  In addition to offering its grants, the United Way also served many families in need through its direct services.


In its 6th year of operation, the United Way’s Community Resource Center (CRC) on Palace Lane has served over 200 households each month providing services including career counseling, emergency housing, rent and utility assistance, medication, food, and clothing.  Presently, the Community Resource Center has recruited volunteers and donors to provide gifts for 130 children in our community who would otherwise go without this holiday season.


The United Way’s Home for Good program that began in 2015 broadened its services this year in providing housing to clients along with intensive case management so clients can stabilize their lives and advance out of poverty.  The program currently serves 19 families that include 25 adults and 33 children.  Four households have graduated from the program and advanced to self-supported permanent housing.  All college-age program participants are pursuing higher education, and all program clients have access to quality healthcare.  An emerging partnership between Home for Good and Habitat for Humanity will provide even more participating families with access to permanent housing.


Another direct service of the United Way, United for Food, is a partnership with the local foodbanks to provide monthly food distribution to families in need in both Williamsburg and West Point.  Thanks to the support of sponsors including businesses, civic organizations, and faith groups, the program has provided food to an average of 226 households comprising 563 individuals each month.


“The CRC, Home for Good, and United for Food are tangible ways that the United Way is making a meaningful difference in our community,” said Liz Parman, Interim Executive Director of the United Way of Greater Williamsburg.  “These programs would not be possible without the efforts of our hard-working staff, dedicated volunteers, and generous donors and supporters.  We are grateful for all of their efforts that are directly responsible for improved lives right here in our community.”


As 2017 approaches, the United Way also announced plans to initiate a community conversation in the new year to identify the most critical needs that the United Way can address. The community conversation will engage citizens and major stakeholders such as local governments, service providers, and the faith community.


“While the United Way is already making a tremendous positive impact, the Board believes it important to address those issues most important to the community,” Poole noted.  “To do so, we plan to do a needs assessment, review statistics, talk to stakeholders, and hear their feedback.  It is only by engaging with the community that we can truly make informed decisions on issues we wish to address.”


To lead this community conversation, the United Way has retained the services of Larry Foster, retired Manager of the James City Service Authority.  Foster, a long-time United Way volunteer and former member of the United Way’s Campaign Cabinet, will assume responsibilities at the United Way on January 1 and will take over for Liz Parman who is leaving to pursue new professional opportunities.  Foster will be responsible for the day-to-day oversight of United Way operations and for engaging in the conversations that will inform the United Way’s future mission and vision.


“I look forward to assuming these responsibilities with the United Way of Greater Williamsburg, an organization that I have long supported and advocated for,” Foster said. “Liz Parman is leaving me an organization that is already making a great community impact and I am excited to begin outreach to the community to determine how that impact can grow in the future.”


“The three plus years I have spent with the United Way have been incredibly powerful,” Parman said. “There are few jobs where you get to make such a tangible difference in people’s lives every day.  I leave this job with gratitude for the staff, volunteers, and donors who have embraced our mission and given of themselves to build a better community.”


“Liz Parman has done an incredible job building the capacity of our programs and the results speak for themselves,” said Poole.  “As we begin the next chapter in the United Way’s history with a year-long community conversation, the Board could think of no one better than Larry Foster to lead it.  He brings a long-time commitment to the United Way and an extensive network of connections throughout the community.  His collaborative approach will ensure that our organizations, our clients, our partners, and our entire community remain well-served by the United Way of Greater Williamsburg.”