Established in Marion County in 1972, United Way of Marion County has grown into a powerful organization, raising more than $17.85 million in the last 20 years. This money was donated locally, by community members and businesses, and invested back into Marion County– supporting services that build a stronger community. Our local United Way is now part of a stronger multi-county system – United Way of North Central Ohio, which includes Marion, Wyandot, and Crawford counties.
Traditionally, United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in the community, the building blocks to a stable and secure quality of life. In 2019, United Way introduced Bold Goals: a collective vision for how to make our region even stronger for everyone who calls it home.
“United Way has evolved from its roots as a fundraising organization to a community convener that mobilizes local partners, including businesses, community leaders, public officials, and community residents, to expand opportunities for people to succeed.,” shared Amber Wertman, Executive Director for United Way of North Central Ohio. “No single organization alone has the ability to solve our community’s most challenging problems. Together, we must focus on issues and underlying conditions for change, and bring people and organizations together to create collective impact.”
Our United Way’s Bold Goals are:
- Improving early childhood development
- Creating healthy, vibrant neighborhoods
- Enhancing leadership & workforce development
The Bold Goals program asks those organizations receiving grants to attend collaborative meetings and submit quarterly reports. Those reports follow a collective impact model and answer the following questions:
- How much did we do?
- How well did we do it?
- Is anyone better off?
United Way encourages partner agencies to work collaboratively whenever possible, sharing resources, identifying shared challenges, and supporting one another in finding solutions.
United Way of Marion County currently supports these local programs – American Red Cross of North Central Ohio, Boys & Girls Club of Marion County, GEAR Up at Marion City Schools, The Legal Aid Society of Columbus, Let’s Read 20, Love INC, Marion Adolescent Pregnancy Program (MAPP), Marion Area Counseling Center, Marion City Schools’ Weekend Backpack Program, Marion Goodwill Industries, Marion Matters, Marion Mentors, Marion Public Library, Mobile Meals of Marion County, Ohio Heartland Community Action Commission, Ridgedale Exempted Village Schools’ Ruling Our eXperiences, Royal Family Kids Camp, Safety City of Marion Ohio, Turning Point, the Marion Housing Coalition, and provides Scouting Scholarships for local scouts. United Way of Marion County also supports the Pay It Forward Project at The Ohio State University, Marion, helping students become engaged citizens in philanthropy that sustains and improves our community.
While United Way serving Marion County is able to support a large range of non-profits, the need continues to grow. According to a 2019 United Way report, almost 48% of Marion County residents are living paycheck to paycheck. Luckily, despite these tough numbers, Marion is a generous and compassionate community.
Leslie Schneider, Resource Development Director for United Way of North Central Ohio, said. “The core of our donations still comes from our Workplace Giving campaigns. Dedicated companies let their employees give smaller gifts each week through their paychecks. They are still the sustaining factor of our campaign. It’s the everyday person keeping our partners and community supported. We also have a Pillar Campaign, with individuals giving over $1,000 each during an annual campaign. We are grateful to our over 70 Pillars donors who support United Way each year.”
But the work is far from over. It is more important than ever that companies are inviting United Way to run workplace campaigns, and that those who are able to give independently, do so.
The newly established United Way of North Central Ohio Community Relief Fund provides resources and emergency grants to agencies throughout the community who are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. Through the efforts of a strong local staff and a Governing Board made up of local community members, United Way of Marion County is helping our community get through this crisis.
We can help United Way continue to build a better community for all. For more information about the United Way of Marion County and the ways, you can help, visit unitedwaynco.org.