Our Towns

United Way Campaign Tops Goal, Raises $3.1M

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley exceeded its 2017 campaign goal of $2.9 million by raising $3,143,522 for the community.

United Way’s impact work, which focuses on early education initiatives such as Success After 6 and Success By 6 after-school programs, drove the growth for the past year’s annual campaign, a United Way official said.

The United Way announced its 2017 campaign results Tuesday at Girard’s Prospect Elementary School, one of seven Success After 6 sites.

Kindergarten, first- and second-grade students from the after-school program, as well as teachers and volunteers who work in the program, were on hand for the announcement.

“Our United Way is dedicated to breaking down the barriers students and families face in our community,” said Bob Hannon, United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley president. “We are extremely grateful to our donors who place their trust in us to do this important work.”

The 2017 campaign raised $140,675 more than 2016’s campaign total of $3,002,847, which is a reflection on the community and the economy improving over the last eight years, Hannon said.

Success After 6 is an early childhood initiative that focuses on the child and the child’s family by providing wraparound services, and an after-school program. It has been implemented in Girard, Youngstown City Schools, Youngstown Community School, and Liberty Local Schools.

This initiative is a main reason for the campaign’s growth this year, as four major donors made significant gifts to “Adopt-A-School” in the campaign, which is a $50,000 commitment, Hannon said.

“We received several large corporate gifts and we’re seeing more donors that want to designate their gift to this work,” he said.

Chris and Ed Muransky adopted Youngstown Community School; Gloria Jones and Fireline Inc. adopted Martin Luther King Elementary; Huntington Bank adopted McGuffey Elementary; Denise DeBartolo-York and The DeBartolo Corp. adopted Williamson Elementary; Ronald McDonald House Charities along with an anonymous donor adopted Taft Elementary; and Ronald McDonald House Charities adopted Girard Prospect Elementary.

Garry Mrozek, CEO of Hometown Pharmacy Solutions, served as the 2017 campaign chairman and has been involved with the United Way for more than 30 years. “The United Way continues to create positive change by collaborating with partners to focus on the caring power of the people in our Valley,” he said.

United Way’s work in the Success After 6 program allows it to engage its donors in new ways, Hannon noted.

The donors have volunteered their time to tutor children, be mentors, and help with projects such as vision screening. United Way screened 2,000 students in Youngstown, and helped more than 200 of them to get glasses and proper eye care.

“By turning our donors into volunteers and our volunteers into donors, we are able to raise funds necessary to provide these initiatives and programs,” Hannon said.

This is the first year for Success After 6 at the Girard Elementary School with its focus on kindergarten through second grade. United Way plans to bring the program to other schools next year with a verbal commitment to Campbell K-7 School and to expand in the Youngstown City Schools, where it now operates in five of the nine city elementary schools.

United Way funds similar programs, such as Success By 6, a pre-kindergarten readiness program that helps students prepare for their first time in a classroom, and Imagination Library, a free book program for children under the age of five that also helps parents with literacy techniques.

Project More — Mentoring in Ohio for Reading Excellence — is an initiative under the Success After 6 program that has volunteers come one to two times each week to Girard to help students with reading.

“The impact is going to be tremendous when the children are able to read at grade level and able to learn because they now know how to read,” said Pastor Vicky Kelley of Girard First United Methodist Church, a Project More volunteer. “We just know what we’re doing has tangible benefits for every child we interact with and have relationships with.”

The campaign currently funds 44 programs operated by 31 nonprofit agencies that work in education and emergency services.

“We need volunteers. We will never get to where we want to get to by doing it alone,” Hannon said. “Volunteers are the critical piece.”

2017 Campaign Break Down

The top 10 workplace campaigns were:

  • General Motors Lordstown Complex and UAW Locals 1112 and 1714
  • AT&T
  • Dearing Compressor and Pump
  • Compco Industries
  • Youngstown State University
  • Home Savings Bank
  • UPS
  • The Surgical Hospital at Southwoods
  • Altronic, LLC
  • AIM Transportation Solutions

The top 5 foundation gifts came from:

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

New foundation gifts came from:

  • Amazon Smile
  • Dentaquest
  • Flo Navarro Foundation
  • Nordson Foundation
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • The James and Coralie Centofanti Charitable Foundation
  • John D. Beeghly Fund
  • YSU Pay it Forward

New workplace campaigns were:

  • Aqua Ohio
  • Palmer-Donavin
  • Equitas Health
  • Pennex Aluminum Company
  • Dinesol Plastics
  • Compco Quaker Manufacturing
  • Firestone Laser and Manufacturing

Pictured at top: Bob Hannon, president of the United Way of Youngstown and Mahoning Valley, and Gary Mrozek, CEO of Hometown Pharmacy Solutions and chairman of the fundraising campaign.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.