Message from Our President

Message from our President Lauren Jespersen

The United Way of the Klamath Basin has been helping people in the Klamath Basin since we opened our doors in September of 1945.  Our Mission:  To increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another.  Klamath Basin residents and businesses have struggled for more than a year with  economic and personal hardship due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been impacted by this pandemic.  Going forward, let us all strive to be safe and follow public health guidelines so we can one day resume our normal Klamath way of life.

Over the decades, thanks to the loyalty and generosity of so many Klamath Basin citizens and businesses, our local United Way and its supported agencies are able to help about 20,000 local citizens each year. These agency program services have a profound impact toward improving the lives of local people of all ages.  I want to thank everyone who contributed to the 2020 United Way Community Campaign and helped raise $495,104 for 99% of our $500,000 goal.

Also, in 2020, our local COVID-19 special response campaign raised $48,325, and 100% of all funds raised were granted to 10 local United Way agencies who applied for special funds to address their immediate needs (loss of revenue, increased demand for services) due to COVID-19.   Our thanks to those local individuals, businesses and corporate foundations who donated to the cause.

The 2021 Community Campaign Chairwoman is Amber Gomes, Umpqua Bank Community Relations Manager.  Anyone wishing to volunteer and participate in our fall community campaign should contact the United Way of the Klamath Basin at 136 N. Third Street in Klamath Falls, OR  97601, or give us a telephone call at (541) 882-5558.  Of course, our United Way accepts contributions year-round.

Central to our United Way mission is to engage volunteers and promote their role and impact toward helping people.  Approximately 150 volunteers take part annually in raising and allocating United Way funds for local program services.  Our local board of directors (between 24 and 30 members) govern our United Way and approve all financial matters.   Our goal is to maintain the lowest possible overhead or cost of operation (14.77% in 2019), and assure fiscal accountability of your contributions. When you give to your local United Way, 98.5% of all funds stay local.

For the past 28 years, our United Way has presented the Klamath Country Volunteer of the Year  program to acknowledge and present awards to individuals, groups, organizations, service clubs, school and church programs for their service in helping Klamath Basin citizens.  Thirty-seven nominees were honored in 2021, and Norma Jean Wilder, founder and director of the Chiloquin Christian Center “Blessing Pot” program was selected the overall volunteer of the year.

On April 27, 2021, our United Way board adopted a new policy and strategy to help guide our efforts toward better understanding the health and human care needs of every Klamath Basin citizen.  We have serious social problems in the Klamath Basin like substance abuse, domestic violence, hunger, child abuse, student drop outs, mental health issues, and so much more. Fortunately the United Way supports programs that help people overcome all of these problems. United Way is strongly committed through its funding of youth related agency programs to help every student in the Klamath Basin to graduate from high school and succeed either in college or advanced vocational training.

With your loyal, generous support we can continue together to make our Klamath Basin an even better place to live, work, and raise our families. Thank you.

 United Way of the Klamath Basin Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Policy Statement of Principle                                                                                                

The United Way of the Klamath Basin board of directors, staff and volunteers are committed to support the broadest possible view of diversity as we continue to learn and be inclusive.

We value and respect the many cultures and walks of life of our citizens and celebrate that each person brings a unique perspective and experience that will help advance our mission of addressing the many health and human care needs of people throughout the Klamath Basin.  We strive to promote an environment where each United Way partner, donor, volunteer, employee and persons served will have equal access to helping solve community problems.

We seek to engage the entire community in our work without regard to race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity or expression, disability, sexual orientation, veteran-status, familial status, socioeconomic status, philosophical and intellectual perspectives.  The United Way of the Klamath Basin stands firmly against racism, sexism, and all forms of systemic oppression, and we are committed to work toward improving communication and understanding that will provide more opportunities for a better life for all.

It is our aim that our partners, DEI strategies, and investments reflect these core values.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion defined:

Diversity is both innate and acquired differences that make every individual unique.  It goes beyond perceived differences and appreciates each individual’s talents, skills, experiences, and perspectives.

Equity is the process of being fair to all people.

Inclusion is empowering all individuals to contribute their unique perspectives and fostering a positive environment in which any individual is welcomed, respected, supported, valued, and encouraged to be their full authentic selves at all times by eliminating any barriers to communication and participation.

Click HERE to view the 2020 United Way Annual Report.