United Way

The Franklin County Area United Way is seeking public input on critical issues facing residents.

As part of a comprehensive community assessment survey, the United Way hopes to identify emerging needs and available resources.

A similar survey was conducted in the summer of 2000, according to Paula Obermark, United Way executive director.

Obermark said the survey asks questions about access to health care, job assistance, in-home care, transportation, literacy programs, counseling and intergovernment relationships.

“We want to hear from people on what the present issues are and how serious they think they are, as well as any new or emerging issues that they see,” she said.

The survey also asks which organizations should lead efforts to address social issues in the county, such as state government, nonprofit groups, private businesses, church or religious groups or someone else.

More general questions ask for the survey participant’s gender, age, level of education, household income and number of people in the household.

Anyone interested in participating in a focus group to discuss critical health and human services in the county is asked to provide their name and contact information.

Obermark said survey results will serve as an “invaluable” guide for the Franklin County Area United Way and its agencies.

“Resident participation will help us gain a better understanding of health and human services being provided in our area and to identify areas and services which are not currently provided or are under-provided,” she said. “The responses will serve as a guide for the next 10 years in the development and delivery of new programs and the enhancement of existing services.”

Obermark encourages all residents to fill out the brief survey which can be found in this issue of The Missourian on Page 7A. Completed surveys can be mailed to Franklin County Area United Way, P.O. Box 3, Washington, MO 63090, or faxed, 636-390-0294.

The survey also can be completed online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/WZWMZTQ or residents may visit emissourian and click on this story to find a link to the survey.

The deadline to complete the survey is May 8.

Comprehensive Study

The survey process is just one aspect of the assessment, which also includes interviews with area officials, focus groups made up of county residents and a collection of social, demographic and economic data.

The study is much more than an opinion survey, said United Way officials. The opinions will be matched against the data collected to see if perception matches reality.

Obermark said the information collected will help not only the United Way, but also local government and civic leaders plan for the future.

A final report will be submitted to the United Way board in August. The findings also will be reported to the public.

The survey is being conducted in partnership with the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

“We are excited to be able to do this. This is only the second time we’ve been able to do a survey on this scale and it’s only possible through our partnership with St. Louis,” Obermark said.

For more information, people may contact Obermark at the Franklin County Area United Way office, 636-239-1018, or Jeanene Harris with the United Way of Greater St. Louis, 314-539-4069.