The Waverly-Shell Rock Area United Way is on the move.
The nonprofit, which serves up to 7,500 individuals annually, has vacated its space at the former Duo’s Coffee building on the corner of West Bremer Avenue and Eighth Street Southwest in Waverly.
The reason, says Executive Director Jill Krall, is that the organization is looking for innovative and collaborative ways to continue to do its work more sustainably and more efficiently.
Krall and like-thinking leaders of other area nonprofits have been brainstorming for the past year on how to re-envision their services and the space in which they deliver them.
Established on May 2, 1951, as the Community Chest and Council of Waverly, the nonprofit went through several transformations. In 1968, it was renamed Waverly Area United Fund. In 1975, it became the Waverly Area United Way and in 1982, Waverly-Shell Rock Area United Way (WSRAUW).
In the past seven years, since Krall has spearheaded the WSRAUW, the needs have been growing both in numbers and complexity.
“If a family is looking for help, they typically have more than one need,” she told Waverly Newspapers.
Krall said that clients tend to wait longer to ask for help, and hence, by the time they do, their needs are more than a single agency can address.
The WSRAUW funds more than 25 programs, such as the Mobile Food Pantry and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Additionally, it offers direct service programs, such as the Summer Lunch Program, Holiday Assistance and Diaper Bank programs.
For Krall’s entire tenure so far, the organization has been located at the coffee shop building, but since the change of ownership there, the new hours spurred innovative thinking.
In the past year, Krall and her 18-member board have been brainstorming bold ideas about what a re-envisioned WSRAUW would look like and what efficiencies can be created in partnerships with sister agencies.
“As one of the board members said, ‘It’s time to pull off the Band-Aid,’” she said. “We are strategically moving, we want to operate better and better serve the community.”
While prospecting various locations and operating scenarios, the WSRAUW will remain in town.
And while the search for the best fit is under way, in the meantime, they will be mobile, providing services by request. Clients can call 319-352-2582 or email email@example.com.
“The WSRAUW operates independently under the direction of the local board of directors,” she said. “The impact can be felt in our local communities.”