United Way of Mesa County is impacting the community in a big way in education, health, and self- reliance.

United Way is one of the most visible philanthropic organizations in the community, providing funds for 43 programs in  26 local agencies.

Julie Hinkson, the executive director of United Way, and board member Joe Higgins were recently in the studio to discuss the impact of United Way on the Grand Junction community.

Higgins says statewide studies indicate  Mesa County generally lagging behind many counties in education,  health, and self-reliance. He says United Way works in partnership with other entities in the community to improve these areas in the community.

For example, Higgins says only 46% of high school graduates in Mesa County go on to secondary education, while nationally that number is around 75%. He says the three areas United Way focuses on are all connected. If people are healthy and have the skills to provide for themselves, they are more likely to go get a higher education.

If you wonder exactly what United Way is doing in Mesa County, you can go to their website and see the list of agencies and programs they help fund. It's really quite remarkable how many people in Mesa County benefit from United Way funds.