Thank you to the over 400 donors who have already filled out United Way's survey about a new focus area. Today, August 4, is the deadline to complete the survey so please check your email and fill it out if you haven't already.

This week I have had the pleasure of speaking to some of our influential workplaces about our strategic planning process and move to becoming issue focused. A shout-out to Bill Roop from Alpine Bank and to Rebecca Epperson from Chartwell Agency for generously sharing your time and opinions with me yesterday.

What have we learned? People I've talked to are concerned about crime, education, and poverty. They are worried that children are not proficient readers by the end of third grade and wonder what that means for the future of our community.

They applaud Sheriff Gary Caruana and Chief of Police Dan O'Shea (The Brothers in Blue) for the new crime-fighting measures they're bringing to the community, but they worry that our poverty rate (which keeps increasing) might continue to increase the crime rate.

People I've talked to are anxious for solutions and for our community to work as a whole, under a collective impact model. It seems like this sentiment is happening all over the country. In communities, big and small, United Ways are beginning to lead the charge for real community change.

We're learning that we live better when we LIVE UNITED.