From: The Chronicle-Telegram, April 14, 2016
By: Lisa Roberson
To view the original content, please visit this link: http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2016/04/14/lorain-county-united-way-honored-best-state/
The United Way of Greater Lorain County was honored Wednesday as the best United Way agency in the state.
The group, headed by Executive Director Bill Harper, received the honor of 2016 Ohio United Way of the Year.
State Sen. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, recognized agency representatives Ryan Aroney, Orlando Jones and Marco Cuevas on the Senate floor with a resolution honoring the work done in Lorain County.
“I am tremendously proud of the work of the Lorain County United Way as they continue to improve lives and strengthen our community,” Manning said. “This recognition is well-deserved, and I commend them for the positive impact they are making by helping Lorain County area residents.”
The agency operates under a funding and organizational model known as Collective Impact. The switch, made some years back, has changed how United Way doles out its charitable donations. Instead of individual groups applying for and receiving funding for activities specific to their missions, Lorain County agencies now are encouraged to find a larger focus and pull in other agencies that can help provide services and work to address problems in a more comprehensive way.
It is a national trend in philanthropy aimed at producing better results through collaboration.
Harper has said the funding shift has only worked because of agency buy-in across the county.
In addition to the state honor, the United Way Worldwide ranked Lorain County’s United Way in the top 1 percent of the nation’s highest-performing agencies.
When compared to United Ways of similar size, the local agency ranked ninth in the nation.
Lorain County’s first collaborative was the United Community Assistance Network, also known as UCAN, which assists families with hunger, employment, health care, utility payment assistance and mortgage assistance by providing an average of $500 per family to keep them in their homes and employed.
Since its inception, UCAN has helped 750 families, and it works with 10 partner agencies providing year-round access to emergency financial assistance.
Each ZIP code in greater Lorain County is covered through the collaborative.
Other collaborative programs include Oberlin Kids, YES Zone, Ready Set Go to Kindergarten, KEY, the North Ridgeville Heart and Sole Challenge, and Common VIEW.