Currently, more than 40% of local households do not have the monthly income needed to meet basic living expenses. The United Way of Greater St. Louis is dedicated to building stronger and more equitable communities. The nonprofit works to unite people, resources and funding to meet the needs of a 16-county region in Missouri and Illinois. Each year, it provides assistance to one million people—meaning it touches the lives of one in every three people in the St. Louis community
The United Way provides more than 160 local nonprofits with vital funding and training resources. Its goal is to support the region in five impact areas: basic needs, health and wellbeing, jobs and financial mobility, youth success and crisis response. “The United Way has been part of the community for more than 100 years,” says president and CEO Michelle Tucker. “We meet people where they are to help them respond to challenges through the safety net of agencies we support.” Last year, the organization invested almost $79 million into the region, having raised $67.4 million through its annual campaign, an initiative that includes individuals and more than 1,100 local companies.
This year, Marty Lyons, chief executive officer of Ameren, is serving as chair of the United Way’s annual campaign, and commercial banking leader and market executive of Regions Bank, Scott Hartwig, is acting as co-chair. Lyons notes that the decision to get involved is both a personal and professional one. “My wife, Leslie, and I have been working with the United Way for more than 25 years, so we’ve gotten to know about the agencies it supports,” he says. “Professionally, I understand that our business won’t thrive unless our region thrives. The United Way is helping the community be successful.”
Hartwig adds that he has witnessed the critical need for aid in the community first-hand. “My son was born with a serious heart condition,” he explains. “Spending time at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, I saw so many families that didn’t have the resources or support that ours did. The United Way helps local families through crises. It helps people get back on their feet and find a sustainable way to thrive. That’s why I decided to get involved.”
One of the United Way’s most important initiatives is the 24-hour 211 helpline. Completely free and confidential, it connects people to resources and organizations that help with immediate needs such as food, shelter and transportation, as well as long-term needs such as childcare, education, job training and counseling. “We all stumble and run up against challenges,” Tucker notes. “But we don’t all have the resources necessary to overcome them. The United Way helps those that don’t have a network of support to assist them. With 211, we’ve receive roughly 150,000 calls annually.”
In 2023, the United Way is celebrating a major anniversary. Its Volunteer Center, the largest volunteer hub in the region, is turning 90. The center mobilizes thousands of individuals, companies and groups through meaningful volunteer opportunities every year. “The Volunteer Center and the annual campaign are ways for people to unite and get involved in helping the region,” Tucker says. “It’s that support that fuels the United Way’s efforts, allowing us to put people back on the road to success.”
Working in a 16-county region in Missouri and Illinois, United Way of Greater St. Louis unites people, resources and funding to help build strong and equitable communities. Its annual campaign begins next month and continues through the fall. Pictured on the cover: Campaign co-chair Scott Hartwig, United Way president and CEO Michelle Tucker, campaign chair Marty Lyons. For more information, contact 314.421.0700 or visit helpingpeople.org.
Cover design by Julie Streiler
Photo courtesy by Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton
Pictured at top: President and CEO Michelle Tucker
Photo: Collin Miller of Strauss Peyton