Stretching Every Dollar

The United Way of Southeast Missouri is working with many partners to tackle the financial issues facing us in the current economy.

The Financial Stability Partnership was established in the spring of 2008 to discuss and develop strategies to help working families become financially stable, one of the United Way of Southeast Missouri’s three primary focus areas. The Partnership is comprised of representatives from social service agencies, governmental agencies, Southeast Missouri State University, local banks and financial advisors to bring together existing financial programs to better serve the public.

The financial stability framework being used by the Partnership identifies three important elements of financial stability; increasing income, building savings, and gaining and sustaining assets. Underlying this framework is the recognition of an increased need for financial literacy and education and access and use of mainstream banking products and services. Anticipated results for families include home ownership, maintaining a personal savings account, small business development, crisis management, and continued education – all things that lead to strengthening families.

The first focus of the organization was to identify existing financial education programs in the community and increase their capacity to provide education to more families. Once programs were identified, a referral system was developed to transition individuals through the various programs based on their current needs and to further their understanding of finances. "There is no one size fits all program available, but through collaboration and increased publicity we feel that we can meet the needs of all who seek money management assistance. Bringing the various providers together and having an understanding of the programs that they offer allows us to plug individuals into the help they need at a level they can understand." said John McGowan of the United Way and Co-Chair of the Partnership. Through the Partnership there are learning opportunities available to assist in money management matters from the basics of budgeting and banking skills all the way to foreclosure assistance. Assistance is offered as self directed study, group presentations and one-on-one mentoring opportunities. To date, over eighty families have been referred to the various programs.

The Partnership is also looking at a model developed by the Casey Foundation referred to as "The Center for Working Families". The model brings together access to a full range of essential economic supports in a convenient location to help families build self-sufficiency, stabilize their finances, and move ahead.

Another program brought to the community by the United Way in 2007 is the FamilyWize prescription card. As health costs increase and insurance offerings decrease through this program the United Way is helping to reduce the cost of prescribed medications on average by 32% in the Southeast Missouri region. This FamilyWize program is available to all individuals without private medical prescription plans and has no eligibility requirements. The discount program is offered by most of the area pharmacies and includes all of the national chains in Southeast Missouri. To see if your pharmacy participates, visit or contact your pharmacist. In 2008 the United Way FamilyWize program has saved residents in Cape Girardeau County in excess of $65,000 in prescription costs. Discount cards are available at the pharmacy, online and at the United Way of Southeast Missouri offices at 430A Broadway in Cape Girardeau.

The United Way’s transformation to community impact has allowed the organization to focus more intensively on community issues and ways the community can work together to help resolve them. "Helping families become financially stable is a worthy goal to work towards", states John McGowan, "as it will have a lasting impact on our community and that family for generations." To access the Financial Stability Programs, contact First Call for Help, 334-HELP.

The 2008 United Way Campaign is currently underway. To donate, contact the United Way of Southeast Missouri at 573-334-9634, visit the website at or ask your employer.

About United Way of Southeast Missouri

The United Way of Southeast Missouri envisions a safe, healthy, and proactively caring community in which every individual thrives during each stage of life: Healthy Babies; Successful Children; Responsible Adults; Active Seniors. The Mission of the United Way of Southeast Missouri is to serve as the leader in uniting people and resources to build a stronger and healthier community. Our goal is to create lasting change that prevents problems from happening in the first place. Here in Southeast Missouri we're committed to STRENGTHENING FAMILIES. We want to ensure that: Children will grow to be successful in life. Families are financially self-sufficient. Our elderly and disabled live as independently as possible. Our citizens reach out to help our community. For more information please visit or call 573-334-9634.

About United Way of America

United Way is a national network of more than 1,300 locally governed organizations that work to create lasting positive changes in communities and people’s lives. Building on more than a century of service as the nation’s preeminent community-based fundraiser, United Way engages the community to identify the underlying causes of the most significant local issues, develops strategies and pulls together financial and human resources to address them, and measures the results. United Way of America is the national organization dedicated to leading the United Way movement. While local United Ways tackle issues based on local needs, common focus areas include helping children and youth succeed, improving access to health care, promoting financial stability, and strengthening families. For more information about United Way of America, please visit: