United Way of Monroe County Volunteers and staff discuss recent successes in our community in the hunger sector. Left to right, Pat Sayler, Community Investment Committee Chair, Jennifer Strauch, VP, Community Impact, United Way of Monroe County, Emma Avci, Community Volunteer, and Sarafina Solomon, Community Volunteer.

Monroe County Unites!

March 9, 2018

Area non-profits and volunteers come together

Over 20 non-profit directors and 40+ community volunteers met on Friday, March 9th to kick off United Way of Monroe County’s annual Community Investment process. This is when volunteers help decide in which programs United Way should invest campaign dollars to help solve critical community problems.

United Way of Monroe County recently took a significantly new approach in how it works. Once known as a fundraising agency for other non-profits, United Way now does much more. United Way starts with the problem and then works with the community to create a plan and put together all the elements that are needed to solve that problem. For example, hunger. United Way has brought together community leaders to form a Hunger Coalition that is developing a comprehensive plan to end hunger in Monroe County. From gleaning, to summer lunch programs, to food distribution, to cold storage. Part of that plan is bringing together non-profits working on this issue to get everyone to work together and towards common goals.

Focused, impactful, united

“United Way is about bringing people together to solve complex problems that cannot be solved by any single organization,” says President and CEO for United Way of Monroe County, Michael Albert. “We are no longer an organization that simply spreads funds around. We are focused on solving specific problems in our community. Sometimes that means implementing programs ourselves, sometimes it means mobilizing volunteers to take action, sometimes it means advocating in Harrisburg, and sometimes it means investing in partner programs that help achieve our goals. Usually it means some of each.

“Today we are looking to all our partners to see what role each of them can take to help tackle some of our community’s biggest challenges, and how we can help them do it.”

United Way of Monroe County is currently focused on three specific issues – based on a comprehensive needs assessment conducted by the agency in 2016. There are 23 agencies that have applied for funding for programs that address specific elements of each of these problems:

  • Access to Healthy Food – helping more families gain access to affordable nutritious food;
  • Support for Working Families – increasing access to high-quality Pre-K and after-school programs; and
  • Help When Needed Most – ensuring that crucial support is available in our community and connecting community members with those services when they need them most.

United Way encourages community members interested in any of these issues to reach out to United Way. Click here to check out our initiatives and learn more or click here to Get Involved and take action.