United Way works to bring community together

For more than 90 years, The United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley has been essential to the fabric of this community — responding to new and emerging needs and transforming people’s lives.

The work is never ending as the needs and demands of building a safer and healthier community continue to evolve, often at what seems a lightning speed. We work tirelessly to improve the education, financial stability and health of our neighbors.

The Community Fund, which awards funding to local applicants, is central to UWAMOV’s efforts. United Way’s proven process is led by trained volunteers from a variety of backgrounds. They assess community needs, evaluate local program effectiveness and monitor outcomes in a stringent annual process.

This year’s process involved more than 1200 volunteer hours to determine which programs would receive allocations from the campaign’s community fund. The 17-18 annual campaign raised more than $910,000; more than $500,000 of that total will be distributed to local programs in annual funding through this program. This fund supports programs providing services from after school programs and domestic violence shelters to credit counseling and senior services.

The United Way campaign also supports an array of other community programs. Outside of the Community Fund, an additional $15,000 will be spent to support Hunger Solutions programming in the MOV, as we know that 1 in 6 MOV residents faces food insecurity.

Additionally $7,000 in FEMA Emergency funding for food assistance will be distributed. Also, $5,000 has been dedicated to pilot the Born Learning Trail program which is a UW early childhood impact initiative. Nearly $15,000 will be spent through the Warming Hands & Hearts Utility Assistance Program. Of the money raised, $12,000 will be used to fund the Back to School Backpack program. This program helps to equip more than 3,000 students to return to the classroom. $55,000 will be allocated towards the STEP Program- Strive Towards Excellent Programing. We received a grant specifically to address training and development needs among our core community partners and agencies and will be working with Non Profits LEAD from Marietta College to launch the program.

In addition to the campaign gifts that our United Way allocates in the annual community fund process, we also receive Donor Choice contributions each year.

These contributions are made through workplace campaigns and designated to specific agencies. While our UW team works to vet those selected agencies and then forward the gift to them, we do not have a voice in where those funds are distributed. This year more than $57,000 was raised through the annual campaign and gifted to worthy organizations throughout our community including several volunteer fire departments in the area. We feel both proud and humbled to serve this community.

We are overjoyed to report such a successful campaign, but we also know that the needs in the MOV far outweigh what we have been able to do. We are so truly thankful for our supporters; without those generous gifts our critical work would not continue.

We know that when we have the opportunity to tell our story — to explain how United Way is helping — people respond, opening their hearts and their wallets. When they learn about our work, they give with confidence — knowing that their hard-earned dollars are being put to good use and achieving life-changing results. Every investment in United Way becomes a path to safe and secure housing, to learning opportunities, to better nutrition, to improved health, to employment and to supportive relationships. Continuing challenges, such as educating our young people, providing for family stability, and caring for those who are vulnerable, require us to provide thoughtful responses that truly address how to fundamentally change conditions. We are committed in our endeavors and inspired by what we have already seen come to fruition. As we look ahead to the 18-19 annual campaign we will once again strive to build connective solutions, engage our neighbors and create synergy. United Way is the way to bring communities together to improve the quality of life for everyone. United Way is unique in that it asks each of us to invest what we can to help all of us live better. To live better, we must live united.

Stacy DeCicco, Executive Director

United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley

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