January 20, 2020
Dear Friends of UCP Heartland,
Happy New Year or should I say welcome 2021. I will let you decide, depending on your perspective of the first 20 days. One year ago today, I started my journey with UCP Heartland. I am inspired by the resilience demonstrated, honored to be a part of this incredible UCP Heartland family and hopeful for a better tomorrow. I can’t believe it has been a year already and as with everyone reading this, the past 11 months will certainly go down in the history books. The world dramatically changed in a matter of weeks….uncertainty, fear, isolation, death, PPE, video meetings, social distancing, and oh how are we going to make this work? I admit I am bias and tend to focus on the positivity, but through the imperfection and sometimes on-the-fly decisions, I believe we have made it work. We certainly had to make some tough decisions as a result of having to be more efficient and keep people healthy and safe. The resilience of our clients, patience of their families and the dedication of all agency employees allowed us to continue our mission each and every day. Below are some highlights:
-Despite having a reduction in over $2 million in revenue, we were able take advantage of the COVID Relief Funding to offset some of this financial deficit, pay our staff, provide a direct care staff bonus, and continued quality essential services to the individuals and families we support (child development, employment, residential and respite).
-Developed a virtual team for Adult Day Services program to stay connected with individuals we serve, give them socialization, and participate in different learning experiences.
-UCP Heartland was honored to be selected as a Safety Net partner with the United Way of Greater St. Louis and funded to provide Adult Day Services, Employment, Residential and Respite.
-135 big-hearted community donors generated $115,000 for UCP Heartland 2020 Annual Appeal.
-The organization carried on with scheduled fundraising events (Trivia Night and 10th Annual Wing Ding) by adapting to a virtual environment. This will continue with the UCP Heartland Annual Gala on February 27, 2021. I hope you are able to join us for an inspiring evening.
-Even during a time when unemployment sky-rocketed our Community Employment team placed 50 people in competitive jobs.
-We created a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Director position and looking forward to ensuring this topic and initiatives are a focus and embedded into the culture here at UCP Heartland.
-UCP Board of Directors and Leadership worked in partnership to create a new Strategic Plan guiding our work over the next few years. More to come on this in the near future.
Even though 2020 was probably the most challenging in my career, the people I walk alongside are resilient, dedicated, compassionate, inspiring, brave, and extraordinary. I am hopeful even though the challenges will continue. I am pleased we were able to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to some of our employees this week, but there is continued work to be done on this front. Thank you for your continued interest in UCP Heartland, walking alongside us in this journey, and most importantly believing in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in our communities.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or want to learn more about UCP Heartland.
President and CEO