United Way of Greater Topeka was the topic of the June 1, 2021, League of Women Voters Topeka-Shawnee County Tuesday Topics presentation by Jessica Lehnherr, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Topeka. We’ve included the highlights below. The library is a partner with the League of Women Voters in sharing nonpartisan civic information.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan non-profit organization, promotes political responsibility through informed and active participation in government. They also research and take action on selected governmental issues and monitor meetings of the county commission, city council and local school boards. The League does not support or oppose any political party or candidate.
United Way Presentation
United Way of Greater Topeka, formerly called Community Chest, has been in Topeka for more than 85 years and serves Shawnee, Jackson and Jefferson Counties.
Lehnherr showed a brief video about United Way and COVID-related issues focused on using zoom meetings to identify and partner to solve problems with Topeka leaders throughout the pandemic. Pandemic partners included Capitol Federal, Midland Care and Pineridge Prep with Topeka Public Schools.
Impact Partners Work in Community
Impact Partners focus on:
- Early Childhood – Pineridge Prep Preschool, TDC (formerly Topeka Day Care), YWCA Kindergarten Achievement Program, Child Care Aware and Topeka Public Schools Parents as Teachers
- On-Grade Achievement – USD 450 Tecumseh North, YWCA FEATS (Families Empowered by Additional Teaching of Students) and Communities in Schools
- Financial Stability – Topeka Rescue Mission CARE (Career Education Program), Housing & Credit Counseling, Inc., Hope Program, Communities in Schools Future Now Finance program, and Junior Achievement in Kansas
- Health, Social Determinants of Health and advocacy work, and Single Care (prescription card for 80% discount) – Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods,
- Response to COVID, Weekly COVID-19 Response Calls and COVID Relief Fund
What people can do to support this work
Through United Way people can:
- GIVE through United Way Day of Giving and workplace campaigns
- ADVOCATE on social media and with policymakers
- VOLUNTEER through TopekaVolunteers.org, a United Way coordinated website listing nearly 100 organizations with opportunities to volunteer. TopekaVolunteers.org can track volunteer hours and the dollar value of volunteering to the community.
Young Leaders Society
The Young Leaders Society (40 years old or younger, or young at heart) is committed to advancing the United Way goals in education, income and health. Most of their work is focused on early education. Their Junior Leader Reader program, which began in 2010 with corporate and individual support, has distributed 41,783 books to pre-K and kindergarten students in Shawnee County.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and United Way of Greater Topeka are partners in making Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library available to all children in Shawnee County from birth until their 5th birthday. To sign up your child for this program visit the Imagination Library site and complete the registration form. All children are eligible regardless of income.
Learn more about the work of United Way of Greater Topeka.