Change a Life, Save a Life: Why You Should Complete Greenwich United Way’s Survey

Wondering what the Greenwich United Way’s Needs Assessment Survey has to do with you? Why should you invest ten minutes to fill it out?

According to CEO David Rabin, the survey, which the Greenwich United Way typically conducts in five year intervals, has been moved up a year and they are eager to use the results to target funding.

The survey takes just 10 minutes to complete, and respondents, who are kept anonymous, can indicate their neighborhood with a single click.

Rabin said there are abundant stories of lives changed and saved, as a result of programs the Greenwich United Way funds, including mental health initiatives.

“One of the success stories we heard about from one of our grantees is about a teenager at Greenwich High School who was suffering from mental illness,” Rabin said. “Suicide was on his mind on more than one occasion. He saw his parents fighting, and turned to alcohol and drugs.”

“He was able to turn his life around, and hopes to graduate high school on time and with his classmates, and start becoming a productive citizen,” Rabin said.

Rob Moore, the Director of Community Impact, said an effort at Liberation Programs funded by Greenwich United Way supports people with substance misuse or abuse by providing a recovery coach.

“The best way to support people struggling with substance abuse is with a friend or person to lean on,” Moore said. “It’s similar to having an AA sponsor. Liberation has a presence at Greenwich High School and YWCA Greenwich.”

Greenwich United was has also provided funding to Kids in Crisis.

“They are receiving less money from State, and billing structures with health insurance create a gap,” Rabin said. “Greenwich United Way covers that critical gap that allows the program to run with fewer service interruptions.”

The United Way also supports  Supermarketing for Seniors, program through Jewish Family Services that offers free grocery shopping for home-bound Greenwich residents, aged 60 and up.

“Recently one of their clients fell and was on the floor when someone from Supermarketing for Seniors knocked on their door. That person saved their life,” Rabin said.

Other programs Greenwich United Way supports include the Fathers Forum, the Abilis birth to 3 program, and the Greenwich Community Health Initiative Partnership out of Greenwich Hospital, which helps identify special needs in children earlier.

Rabin and Moore said the Greenwich United Way, with their tag line ‘We find It. We fund it. We fix it,’ has learned from their survey that transportation is a challenge for some residents to access health services.

“Because the way health services are set up, due to insurance issues, people have to travel out of town to get access. But if you’re low income, how do you get there?” he asked. “We support TAG, through their dial-a-ride program for health appointments in Norwalk and Stamford, and we fund Greenwich Health Rides.”

Recently, Rabin said his organization learned of the scheduled closure of the YMCA’s Early Learning Center childcare facility at St. Roch’s in August 2020 and the Hamilton Avenue after school program, which will conclude in June.

“As the umbrella organization in town, we’re going to be a part of the process to help identify a solution,” he said.

“This report will save lives,” Rabin added. “This survey is just a jumping off point. After the survey, we’ll start focus groups and conduct interviews with providers, elected officials and key stakeholders who run these programs.”

Greenwich United Way is looking for 3,000-4,000 respondents to the survey.

“It’ll be the most robust, deep-dive needs assessment ever, and we’ve been doing this for 40 years,” Rabin continued, adding that the needs assessment is similar to the US Census.

“The Census is critical to the state of Connecticut – to get counted for for federal funding. At the United Way, the survey is the blueprint for what we will address.”

About 100 different programs and services are born out of the needs assessment, and needs may be pinpointed to specific to neighborhoods, revealing where there are gaps or overlaps.

If you received a post card from Greenwich United Way in the mail, it contains a neighborhood code you can input to the survey. If you don’t have a post card, that’s fine. Just use the locator map to click on your Greenwich neighborhood.

Rabin said sometimes he hears people say they prefer to give directly to a charity rather than to the group that serves as a clearinghouse. He explained that when you donate to the Greenwich United Way, the non profits are all thoroughly vetted.

“In our Community Investment Process,  volunteers take a deep dive,” Moore said. “They investigate the financials and 990 of each organization seeking a grant.”

“They also do a program site visit and interview the CEO and director of development,” Moore added. “If they have a high administrative cost, we uncover that kind of thing.”

At Greenwich United way, 80% of expenses are program expenses, 12% are administrative and 8% are fundraising.


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“We have very enviable percentages across the board,” Rabin said.

“Our Community Investment Process volunteers are all Greenwich residents. Anyone in Greenwich can an be interviewed,” Moore said.

Contact Mr. Moore for information if you’re interested volunteering in the Community Investment Process process.

“It is one of the most rewarding volunteer opportunities in town,” Moore said. “You’ll listen to 25 applications and hear what those programs are doing, how they’re helping and how Greenwich United Way keeps Greenwich a great place to live work raise a family and retire in.”

If nothing else, take a few minutes to complete the survey.

This editor completed the survey in ten minutes.

Click here for the survey. You even have the option of filling it out in Español.