Matt All, BCBSKS senior vice president and general counsel, has been serving as the 2016 citywide campaign chair for the United Way of Greater Topeka. During his time as the campaign chair, he’s seen the challenges the city is facing, but feels encouraged about the progress it’s making.
Topeka has a lot going for it. We have great neighborhoods, strong schools, and a variety of cool features, from the NOTO arts district to Washburn University to the zoo and Gage Park. It’s a great place to live and work.
But I think we all know that our city has its share of challenges, too. There are too many families stuck in difficult situations, and too many children falling behind as a result. When you get closer to these problems, which I’ve been able to do in my work with the United Way of Greater Topeka, it’s easy to get discouraged. The challenges these families face didn’t arise overnight, and they aren’t always easy to address. But as I’ve learned more about the programs the United Way is helping to sponsor, I’ve become more hopeful and optimistic than ever that we are changing lives, and that we will create positive, sustainable change in our community over time.
Remember: small changes in someone’s life can make a big difference over time. If we put one child on a different path, we will help not only that child, but all the people that child talks to and touches for years to come. If we focus on the right levers (preschool education, on-grade reading, etc.), we can help hundreds of children and families across our city. And if we do that year after year, we can do wonders.
Also remember: every dollar counts. It’s not whether you gave $10 or $1,000; it’s that you did your part. The power of the United Way comes from combining all the donations, large and small, and all the volunteer hours, and directing them toward solutions we know change lives for the better. So if you gave this year, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are helping change lives, and to change our community over time.
The BCBSKS United Way campaign has come to a close. I’m exceedingly grateful for all the work the BCBSKS internal committee put into this year’s campaign. The meetings were fun, energetic, and informative. And we did a lot of good: thousands of families will have some extra food in the cupboard because of the sack lunches we packed. I’m grateful for everything BCBSKS employees have done to help Kansans in need this year.
The citywide campaign has a few weeks left. Many of the largest campaigns, such as those at Hills Pet Nutrition and Capitol Federal, are still in process. Although I’m optimistic that we’ve made some progress this year, I’m less concerned about the final tallies than I am about what we’ve learned from the various workplace campaigns to make the citywide campaign stronger over time. It’s not what we do in a single year that will help; it’s what we do year after year that will make a real difference.
Again, thank you. I hope you’ll join us again next year to create positive, sustainable change in our community.