Bill Rieth • The Good of Goshen

Bill Rieth

President/CEO, Crossroads United Way, serving Elkhart, LaGrange & Noble Counties

Published Jan. 2021

I love the fact that I’m helping people in our community who are struggling and can help to make a very real difference in their lives.

United Way has been around locally for almost 100 years and nationally for almost 130 years. If you ever play Monopoly, we are that community chest on the Monopoly board. We work on advancing the common good and improving people’s lives in three key areas: health, education, and financial stability. We do that as people in the community elect to take a little bit out of their paycheck or just make a direct donation. We multiply that with grants we receive from the Lilly Foundation and other sources. On average, for every dollar invested, we bring back four to the community. Everything raised here stays here in our local community.

United Way looks at the macro environment of our community: What are the needs that people are facing, and what can we do to really address those and help people move from Point A to Point B? We really look at solutions for the long term to help families move from surviving to thriving.

We really are neighbor helping neighbor, working family helping working family.

Once a year in the fall, we go out to all sorts of workplaces and ask people again to take a little bit out of their pay and invest it back into the community. Every fall, I am always pleasantly surprised by the number of people who actually thank me for that opportunity. There’s also the joy of hearing the stories of people we’re able to help.

You don’t have to be rich to really make a big impact. Even a dollar a week, we’re able to turn that into $4 a week.

In 2019, we had some impact in the lives of around 56,000 people. That’s very rewarding.

For a smaller community, Goshen has incredibly rich cultural resources. You also feel like you can connect and belong. People are friendly, people are caring. You feel like you’re part of a community. In Goshen, I think there’s a sense that we all matter to one another and we’re all somewhat interconnected. I love the diversity of our community. I love the cultural things. I love the fact that I can eat in a great place, or if I want to I can take a bike ride, or I can be connected to the waterway with the Elkhart River and the canal. I think it’s just a great place to live. I love Goshen.

Writing and editing by Scott Weisser and Neil King

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