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As with many things, it’s a big idea that started simply. In this case, it was an annual question to nonprofits that have partnered with the United Way of Iredell County.

Each was asked how the United Way could best support their work in addition to, obviously, funding aid. The answer?

“The No. 1 answer we hear is that not enough people know about the work these agencies are accomplishing in our community,” said Brett Eckerman, executive director of United Way of Iredell County.

And with that, the idea for the Love United Iredell program was born. Now, for two weeks, these select groups will see a higher profile. The United Way of Iredell County is preparing to launch the unique program today.

A total of 27 nonprofits have joined in the collaborative effort in which they try to raise funds to change 62,018 lives over the next six months.

Projects range from providing new recovery and therapy services to veterans in need to helping kindergartners be ready to succeed to supporting local responders to teaching customer service skills to teens seeking employment.

Community members can look over the projects, then any donations will be matched by the United Way. The projects can be viewed as of today on the Love United Iredell Facebook page.

There’s truly something for pretty much everyone.

The initiative aims to offer more than just funding for some of the perhaps smaller nonprofits across the county.

“We … hope that we are sharing the ongoing work being done at these agencies with a wider community and building relationships that will last much longer than the two weeks of this effort,” Eckerman said.

So what role do the nonprofits take in this?

They just need to showcase a project that they plan to use to help the community. The United Way is helping them do that as they all work together to raise the desired funds.

“Each nonprofit is asked to creatively share their work and project with the community over these weeks using both traditional and social media channels,” Eckerman said. “We want their messages to spread as widely as possible.”

But it doesn’t end there. Each nonprofit was allowed to select one project to highlight — and each has to use the funds raised to have a local impact. Those must be used within six months.

After that, the United Way will look back at what the projects did for the local community.

“We have asked that as the projects are completed, each partner help us to share the difference being made by these funds in the lives of their clients,” Eckerman said.

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