Each year, the United Way of Grayson County assists a number or nonprofits when they need it most. Part of this includes carefully vetting each community partner with United Way to ensure the money received is being spent appropriately. For the past two years United Way and the nonprofits it partners with has been collecting data, asking for measurable results from these nonprofits and breaking down their impact by ZIP codes. Through this process, United Way of Grayson County confirmed 522 Van Alstyne clients were served by United Way programs last year.

“One of the things we’ve run into in the past is that the smaller towns, we felt like they had the idea that United Way people are helped in Sherman and in Denison, not in a small towns,” Director of Finance Delisa Deavenport said. “So, ‘Why should we really give?’ And the last two years … for the nonprofits that we allocate funds to, we’ve made it mandatory that they report to us regularly. … So we’ve been able to come up with 522 Van Alstyne clients were served by United Way programs from July 1 2015, to June 3, 2016, and that’s over 10 percent of Van Alstyne’s population.”

These organizations that benefit residents in Van Alstyne include Meals on Wheels, the Child and Family Guidance Center, Habitat for Humanity and more.

Perhaps this is why several members from Van Alstyne play key roles in United Way’s operations, Deavenport said, with Van Alstyne residents joining United Way’s oversight committee and its board.

“It’s really exciting to see some of the smaller towns starting to get on board,” she said.

Dovetailing with this information, United Way of Grayson County has decided to host its first ever Van Alstyne Business Blitz on Oct. 5, a specific effort to enlist Van Alstyne businesses to pledge or donate to this year’s effort, which will help fund 19 nonprofits or youth organizations in Grayson County.

“We’ve never done it in Van Alstyne, but we’ve been building relationships with the business owners in the commerce and even in the city council and the school district for the last couple of years, so we felt like it was a good time to do it,” Deavenport said.

During Van Alstyne’s National Night Out on Oct. 4, United Way will have its own table, as well as its agencies that serve the Van Alstyne area to help provide more information about the organizations that have served Van Alstyne over the past year.

The next morning is when the work begins, with United Way representatives starting the day at 8 a.m. at the Van Alstyne Chamber of Commerce with breakfast and informative sessions educating residents about how United Way works the impact it has. The day will continue with lunch and pledge drives.

“United Way understands that small local businesses can be overwhelmed being asked to support the many great causes, fundraisers and nonprofits needing funding,” CEO and President of Grayson County United Way David Cortinas said in an email. “Although all are worthy causes it can takes time and effort to determine which to support. United Way was created to help in the aspect that one gift impacts 19 local nonprofit agencies that provide services for those in need. The money raised stays right here in Grayson County. The donor can also rest assured that their gift is going to the agencies that are successful not just in providing help to those in need, but also are accountable for the money given to them as United Way monitors their success. All this is done by volunteers that live in Grayson County — they are our neighbors, friends and colleagues.”

“It’s exciting,” Deavanport said. “We’ve gotten really good participation and there’s several businesses that are excited.”

To find out more about United Way and its impact in Van Alstyne, visit http://www.unitedwaygrayson.org/community-partners or call 903-893-1920.