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By Amelia Hitchens
The United Way of Licking County has been working alongside Denison University to improve life and wellbeing in Licking County. Their mission is to unite the community to make people’s lives better, and they hope to do so with the help of Denison faculty and students.
United Way started off by creating a community blueprint that highlights areas of interest that could use improvement in Licking County. Many people are involved in creating this blueprint through an intense survey including professors, doctors, psychiatrists, and also the average man on the street.
This year, the main areas of focus were behavioral health, children, youth and families, and poverty. This information was then passed to Denison in hopes to receive funding and support from our community.
President Adam Weinberg explained, “The Community Blueprint is impressive. It will be important for Denison and every other large organization in Licking County to find ways to support its implementation.”
A dinner was held at President Weinberg’s house to talk about the upcoming project with United Way.
Luellen Deeds, Outreach Director of United Way in Licking County, stresses that “it is very important that there is a measurable outcome in everything we do.” Deeds feels that reaching out into the community is extremely important and Denison goes above and beyond to support the community.
Working with programs such as Big Brother’s Big Sisters is one of many ways Denison students can get involved with the Licking County Community.
President Weinberg feels that reaching out into the Newark community and Licking County is a great way for students to become involved.
He added, “Denison has a very long and strong partnership with the Licking County United Way. The new Community Blueprint gives us an opportunity to align our community work and philanthropic efforts in ways that will make a difference throughout the county.”
Denison has been working with United Way for many years, and President Weinberg is interested in how we can built upon that tradition.
He would love to see our sororities and fraternities begin focusing their philanthropic work on non-profit organizations in the Newark and Licking County Communities.
The opportunity to give back to the Licking County community is a very rewarding experience that many individuals of the Denison Community take part in.
President Weinberg feels that “Denison faculty, students and staff do so much important work throughout the community. The Community Blueprint will gives us new ways to contribute. It’s exciting.”
To view the online post, please click here.
Connecting opportunities to the people who need them most: how a school bus is helping people on the journey to a better life.
It looks like any yellow school bus but the people getting on aren’t students, and they’re not heading to any classroom.
They’re not carrying backpacks, but the heavy baggage of life.
“Many of the folks who are getting on the bus are currently living in homeless shelters, recovery houses. These are folks who’ve lost their homes. They’ve lost much of what we would take for granted in life,” Deb Dingus, Executive Director of the United Way of Licking County said. “They are coming sometimes out of incarceration, out of treatment facilities.”
“If you never wore those shoes- most of my people don’t have shoes!” Donna Gibson, who leads a program called “Bridges out of Poverty,” said. “I don’t really like the word poverty. I think it sounds like a disease. But ultimately, that’s what they’re struggling with.”
Mary Conners knows that struggle, along with scourge of addiction.
“I’ve been a year and four months clean now. And I feel a lot better,” she said. “I don’t miss it, will not go back to it.”
Almost as tough as beating addiction, she said, was finding someone to give her a second chance.
“I went almost eight and a half months trying to get a job and everybody turning me away,” Conners said.
“Many of them have backgrounds that make it difficult for employers to want to hire them,” Dingus said.
Dingus said it was a conversation with the owners of Accel’s ‘Beauty Park’ in New Albany that sparked an idea.
Accel needed workers, and Dingus knew people in Newark who needed work. The challenge would be transportation.
“We’ll help you get employees if you can get us a bus,” Dingus said.
And so they did, and “Buses for Hope” was born.
Every day, dozens of employees are shuttled to and from work. Local churches even pitch in with sack lunches for everyone.
Conners calls the bus a lifeline.
“Without the bus, I wouldn’t have this job,” she said.
Gibson said in the few months since the program started, some workers have already received promotions and raises.
“Seeing moms get their kids back, seeing people get a job,” Gibson said. “This is worth it. Our people are worth it.”
“We’re not solving all the problems, but we think it’s a good start,” Dingus said.
The United Way of Licking County says because of the strong response, they are working on adding a second bus.
Read the story online here.
United Way of Greater Cincinnati has pulled off a major feat in its Centennial year by hitting their goal and raising $62,000,053, the first time the campaign has grown by $1 million since 2007.
“We all believed it important in our Centennial year that we achieve goal and renew the path to expanding critical services that make a difference in so many people’s lives,” said United Way campaign chair Kevin T. Kabat, vice chairman and CEO, Fifth Third Bancorp. “United Way’s messages were shared, and our community responded as Greater Cincinnati always does – with unparalleled generosity. Your contributions of time, talent and treasure have been extraordinary.”
Kabat announced the 2015 campaign result to more than 750 energetic volunteers, donors, advocates, agency and community partners, and staff attending the finale luncheon at Duke Energy Convention Center Wednesday.
“Reaching this goal in our Centennial year is a major accomplishment and a testament to the incredible generosity of this community—one which recognizes the importance of ensuring children get off to a strong start and achieve success in school, families have the financial stability that can come with gainful employment, and individuals lead healthy lives,” said Robert C. Reifsnyder, president, United Way of Greater Cincinnati. “Whether you contributed a Centennial Society gift or a dollar a week, we thank you.”
2015 marks the second consecutive campaign to include an Accelerator Fund that allows donors to make targeted, multi-year investments in proven strategies designed to produce lasting change. These strategies are focused on home visiting, universal quality preschool and career pathways. This year, more than $1.8 million has been committed to the fund by 20 companies, organizations and foundations.
“I want to thank Kevin Kabat for his time and dedication to leading this year’s campaign. He has spearheaded the effort to focus our community’s resources and accelerate progress towards the Bold Goals through his leadership,” said Carl Satterwhite, president/owner, RCF Group, and chair of United Way’s Board of Directors. “Kevin has personally reached out to many people in the community to deliver our message about the importance of sustainable growth to position our community for greatness throughout the next 100 years.”
The United Way of Greater Cincinnati campaign includes geographic campaigns conducted in Northern Kentucky, the Eastern Area (Clermont/Brown counties), the Middletown Area, and Dearborn and Ohio counties in Indiana. Their results are:
• Northern Kentucky, $4,318,956, chaired by Carri Chandler, assistant manager, external affairs, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA)
• Eastern Area, $1,695,455, chaired by Ralph Lee, human resource vice president, Total Quality Logistics
• Middletown Area, $1,626,566, chaired by Dr. Catherine Bishop-Clark, associate dean & professor of computer & information technology, Miami University Middletown
• Dearborn and Ohio Counties, $174,005, chaired by Sheryl Haag, dealer principal & owner, Haag Ford Sales
To date, United Way’s new Centennial Society, created for donors of $25,000 or more, has 18 new members. United Way’s Tocqueville and Women’s Leadership Council (donors of $10,000 or more) have increased their members by 91 and 24, respectively. The Herbert R. Brown Society has gained 63 members, United Way Emerging Leaders has 293 new members, and 517 millennials have joined United Way LINC (Lead. Impact. Network. Change). Recently, the Hispanic Leadership Society brought together several Hispanic organizations in the Price Hill neighborhood for the 2015 Hispanic Community Volunteer Day.
In honor of its Centennial Year, United Way recognized at the event 100 companies and organizations that have made a difference through their increased giving and volunteering.
AdvancePierre Foods was recognized as the top new business, with P&G the number one among the Top 25 supporters and Katz Teller the number one Tremendous 25 supporter (the 25 highest per capita giving companies with at least 25 employees and 55 percent participation).
The event included the presentation of the Clement L. Buenger Award for Leadership in Education to Felicity resident Tracy Foley for her passion to ensure every child succeeds academically. A full-time school volunteer, Mrs. Foley has been involved in the community for several years in efforts including Girl Scouts, PTO and classroom assistance at Felicity-Franklin Schools. Her most significant activity has been organizing after-school clubs through the Felicity Middle School Caring Parent Council. The interest-based clubs, which received startup funds from United Way, are offered at no cost to all students in fifth through eighth grades.
The Corporate Heroes awards, which previously honored the top two performing companies whose employees gave their time and talents back to the community through volunteer hours, added a third award for 2015. LyondellBasell was presented with the award for the highest per capita volunteer hours accumulated for a company with 10-200 employees, Ernst & Young LLP was honored for a company with 200-500 employees and Pomeroy honored for a company with more than 500 employees.
“So far in 2015, more than 270 local companies have dedicated nearly 70,000 hours to volunteering, giving people a first-hand look at the initiatives, programs and community partners their contributions support,” said Kevin Carroll, group manager at P&G, and chair of United Way Volunteer Connection.
Although not in attendance at the event, Ted Torbeck, president and CEO, Cincinnati Bell, was announced by Kabat as the 2016 Campaign Chair.
As is the case every year, the dollar total announced includes contributions already turned in or reported, as well as estimated or conservative projected final figures on a number of campaigns still underway. About 80 percent of the campaign has been processed or officially reported. The remaining amount is projected, based on campaigns underway or yet to start, and must be finalized in the next few months.
“It’s important to realize that there’s still time left to make an impact,” said Reifsnyder. “Companies and individuals who haven’t finished their campaigns or pledged yet still have the opportunity to do so. It is essential to continue to raise every dollar possible to help children succeed academically, support healthy lifestyles, and help families and individuals achieve financial stability.”
United Way of Greater Cincinnati invests the money raised from the annual campaign in more than 280 programs, initiatives and community change efforts. The campaign is a fundraising partnership of United Way of Greater Cincinnati and the Greater Cincinnati-Dayton Region of the American Red Cross. Investments will be announced in December and will support the Bold Goals for Our Region.
The campaign began on August 26.
From United Way of Greater Cincinnati
(Canton, OH) October 26, 2015 – United Way of Greater Stark County volunteers joined together on “Make a Difference Day,” Oct. 24, to assemble 332 tennis ball cans full of LEGO blocks to give to children in crisis and need.
Volunteers from J.P. Morgan Chase, Project Rebuild, Job’s Daughter’s, Plain Local Schools and Kent State University Stark Campus cleaned, weighed, and packed each donated LEGO block.
“Chase Bank was really excited to be a part of this effort,” said Bill Cook, Vice Chairman, United Way of Greater Stark County Board of Directors. “It sounds like such a simple idea, but the impact it makes on these local children will be powerful and long-lasting.”
The effort supports United Way’s Education building block. Studies show that LEGO building helps children develop thinking, improves creativity and literacy skills, boosts motor development, and much more. Cans of LEGO blocks are going to children who enter the system at Job and Family Services.
“It was a vibrant morning,” said Elizabeth Ramsburg, Director, Volunteer & Workplace Engagement, United Way of Greater Stark County. “Our volunteers worked hard knowing these fun and educational blocks would go to children in our community.”
The LEGO Project was sponsored by United Way Volunteer Resource Center. For additional volunteer opportunities in Greater Stark County, contact Elizabeth Ramsburg, Director, Volunteer and Workplace Engagement, United Way of Greater Stark County at 330-491- 9953 or visit www.uwstark.org.