Letter: Positive Change at United Way

To the Editor:

In very brief response to Jim Kenyon’s column concerning the United Way, I just wanted to say that, from my perspective at Hypertherm, the Granite United Way in the Upper Valley is moving in the right way. Hypertherm is a long-time partner and supporter of the United Way, and just as we continually strive to make our own engagement in the community ever more purposeful and measurable, we support the United Way’s positive efforts toward targeted community impact beyond the traditional role of a fundraising clearinghouse.

A large majority of our associates who contribute to the United Way elect to have the local United Way volunteer Community Impact Committee and locally-engaged volunteer teams determine the best allocation of their contributions based on local community needs assessments and program evaluations. When our associates elect to designate their United Way contributions to specific agencies, we provide answers to common questions concerning the nature of United Way’s administrative costs, which go well beyond necessary administration to the funding of shared social service agency infrastructures such as the 2-1-1 community resource call center, and to community needs assessments, community response coordination, and many others. With these answers, the majority of our associates voluntarily approve this “charge” as value-added. If not, Hypertherm gladly picks it up in our match as a good investment. The United Way was recently named one of Forbes Magazine’s top-five efficient charities.

As a board member of both the pre- and post-merger United Way organization in the Upper Valley, I’m also pleased to see how much more our local staff and volunteers are able to focus on local community engagement and impact rather than operations. With those improved efficiencies, more funds go directly to services, and locally raised funds still stay local.

Change isn’t always comfortable, but a changing world and ever-greater community needs require it.  

Evan Smith

President, Hypertherm Inc.



Kenyon: Wrong Way, United Way

Monday, December 10, 2012

Imagine sitting down at a restaurant and having the waitress suggest that rather than showing you a menu, she’d prefer to order for you. But if you really insist on deciding for yourself what to buy for lunch that would be OK. She’ll just have to charge you a “management fee.” For $10, you’re only going to get $8.20 worth …