Friday, October 12, 2012


by Timm Dowling, Loaned Executive

United Way of Pierce County was kind of an abstraction to me when I first heard of it. I knew it was a nonprofit that served the community. That is a simple definition for an organization that is better described like a spider web network for nonprofit agencies in the county. About 808,000 people live in Pierce County. Not all of these people have access to the resources needed for a happy, healthy life. There are hundreds of nonprofits in Pierce County. Not all of these agencies have the means to reach those in need, nor the donors who want to give. United Way is the great connector. Of the 117 programs we currently fund, I’d like to highlight one of my accounts, TACID; the Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals with Disabilities.
TACID’s mission is “promoting the independence of individuals with disabilities”. “Disability” can refer to physical, cognitive, mental or emotional disadvantages. Their loose definition of disability ensures and promotes the open, friendly atmosphere necessary on the road to happiness and independence.
TACID plays a unique role in the community as a consumer-driven organization.  As an organization formed by people with disabilities for people with disabilities, their model of peer support is unmatched in the community. Peer support is an opportunity for people living with disabilities to help each other - sometimes it can be more effective to solve problems when you can talk with someone who can relate to specific experiences.

TACID's Work and Education Center opened in June of 2011.  The Work and Education Center assists people with disabilities in setting and achieving their goals for employment, volunteerism and education. The building is conveniently located at 6315 South 19th Street, neighboring Tacoma Community College. Anyone can register for TACID programs and classes. You can find everything from a Brain Injury Support Group to the Acupuncture Therapy program.
Not only does TACID provide direct support in the form of classes, but the caring, accepting culture within the building is what really contributes to the healing and creation of happy, independent community members.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hello readers! I’m Timm Dowling, a loaned executive for the 2012 campaign season, sponsored by Columbia Bank. I’ll be sharing some of my perspectives on issues in the community for the next couple months.
To give you a little bit of my background, I graduated from Washington State University (Go Cougs!) in May with a degree in Communication. After graduation, I felt a certain pressure to find a well-paid corporate job. However, I knew I couldn’t fulfill a profession unless I found motivation outside the pay check. While I was researching online, my mother pointed out United Way of Pierce County’s Loaned Executive ad in the newspaper. I felt it was a perfect fit. About a month later, I was in Tacoma learning all about the accomplishments and objectives of United Way of Pierce County.
One of our mantras is “LIVE UNITED”. A concise, inspirational phrase, but what does it really mean? We’ve all seen stories in the news. We’ve all read about tragedies around the world. We’ve heard about the house down the street that burnt down. So what are we supposed to do about it? How do these events affect me? I saw a video on the internet last April that sparked these questions.

When the Kony 2012 video went viral, and millions were moved to spread the message about Joseph Kony and his child soldiers in Africa, I couldn’t help but wonder if it would make a difference. What can I do to really help those children, to help the unfortunate, the poor and the sick? I concluded that I may never go to Africa and rescue those children, but I could make an effort to rescue those in my local community. And maybe there isn’t anything so drastic in my neighborhood, but I believe if I am involved, observant and available, then I am affecting the world positively. If I smile at my neighbor, I am co-creating a world where humans help each other instead of hurt each other.

When I saw all the sustainable improvements United Way was providing, I was encouraged to a point of awe. Here is an entire organization committed to the very same goal that I am. And it’s working!

How can I make a difference? How can I change the world? Here’s some good news, it’s already happening. To LIVE UNITED is to understand that we are not alone. We have each other. Whether we realize it or not, our lives are connected. The smallest action can reverberate into the grandest change.

The United Way is a way of life.