United Way Campaign Raises $3M, Surpasses Goal

The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley’s 2016 campaign is the most successful the organization has had in over a decade.

Today the nonprofit held a press conference at Taft Elementary School in Youngstown to announce it exceeded its goal of $2.8 million, raising a total of $3,002,847. It was the first time the campaign broke $3 million since 2004.

“The way we raise the money is getting donors like you to get involved in the work,” president Bob Hannon told those gathered.

In some ways the United Way’s annual campaign can be seen as a gauge for the economic climate in the area. This years goal of $2.8 million is the highest since 2007, right before the great recession.

“I started in 2008 and everything went in the tank and I said, ‘I’m going back into TV,’ “ Hannon, a former sportscaster, joked. “Since then we’ve progressively gotten better.”

Hannon says most of the increase isn’t due to new donors, but instead is the result of improved engagement among those who already partner with the United Way, particularly through workforce campaigns.

“We’re getting more employees going back and telling their staff, ‘I’m involved with the United Way. They’re making a difference,’ “ he says.

Hannon says about 250 organizations participated in the 2016 campaign in some way, the most in as many years as he could recall.

One organization that boosted its involvement was Home Savings Bank, whose CEO Gary Small, was also the chairman of the 2016 campaign.

“What I was most thrilled about was that we got to this lofty goal thanks to thousands of households right here in the Mahoning Valley,” Small said.

This year the charitable arm of the Home Savings and Loan Co., the Home Savings Foundation, increased its annual gift to the United Way by $100,000.

Small is confident the gift is going where it will make the biggest impact: early education and intervention programs. “An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure every time. And we think we can do the most good with our dollars and our effort at that level, he says.

One of the programs the funding will go to is the Young Women’s Mentorship program, which teams female mentors with young women in the 5th and 6th grades.

“We want to start a new program called Promising Men, with African-American men in the community working with boys in 5th, 6th, and 7th grades,” says Hannon.

The United Way also plans to expand its Success After 6 program. By fall, Hannon hopes to have it in every elementary school in Youngstown.

“Without the additional $200,000 we raised, we couldn’t even think about that.”

One challenge United Way will have to contend with in 2017 is less support from its biggest workplace donor, GM Lordstown, who last month laid off some 1,200 workers.

Hannon estimates the automaker accounts for about 9% of its annual campaign, with General Motors matching what the workers donate dollar-for-dollar.

“My only concern is the third-shift donors, we’ve lost them. But GM’s commitment and the UAW’s commitment hasn’t wavered,” he says.

Despite the loss, Hannon says he’ll probably increase the 2017 campaign goal by $100,000 to $2.9 million.

“We’re feeling pretty good,” he said. “Even though GM lost the third shift we’re still making the Cruze, the hospitals are doing well. I think overall we have a lot of positives here in the Mahoning Valley.”

2016 Campaign Break Down

The top 10 Workplace Campaigns were:

  • General Motors
  • AT&T
  • Dearing Compressor and Pump
  • Compco Industries
  • Youngstown State University
  • Home Savings Bank
  • UPS
  • The Surgical Hospital at Southwoods
  • Altronic, LLC
  • AIM NationaLease Co.

The top 5 foundation gifts came from:

  • Home Savings
  • Frank & Pearl Gelbman Charitable Foundation
  • General Motors Foundation
  • Walter & Helen Bender Memorial Fund
  • PNC Foundation

New foundation gifts came from:

  • Sheetz Foundation
  • Dollar General Literacy Foundation
  • Staples Foundation
  • The Magic of Michael Foundation

Pictured: Gary Small and Bob Hannon announce the campaign results.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.