To the Editor:
Robert D. Putnam’s essay about Port Clinton, Ohio (“Crumbling American Dreams,” Sunday Review, Aug. 4), poignantly highlighted the devastation wrought by the combined forces of a global recession and technological revolution on our communities, families and seemingly our values. Left unsaid is the opportunity each of us has to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.
The challenges we face are too big for any one sector to tackle. But when all of us — nonprofits, government, business and individuals — combine our talent, resources and time, we create opportunities for everyone to flourish.
It’s happening. People across America are coming together — rooted in a strong sense of “we” — to change their communities. In Grand Rapids, Mich., 1,200 faith leaders, retirees, college students and employees work with struggling elementary-school children, who have rapidly advanced academically.
There are countless success stories like this illustrating the power of collective action to fuel positive change. It starts with us.
STACEY D. STEWART
U.S. President, United Way Worldwide
Alexandria, Va., Aug. 6, 2013