In Centennial Year, United Way Marks Milestones of 2018

POLAND, Ohio – When William Shivers became chairman of the 2018 campaign of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, he set his goals high. At the time, he asked Bob Hannon, president of the nonprofit, what was the most money they had ever raised.

“He said, ‘$3.3 million.’ I said, ‘That’s going to be our goal.’ He said, ‘Settle down a little bit,’ ” Shivers recalled.

Hannon convinced Shivers, president of the Mahoning Valley and Canton regions of Huntington Bank, to settle for a goal of $2.9 million for the year, although the organization ended up raising nearly $3.1 million. And Shivers believes more can be done.

While accepting an award for heading the successful campaign at the United Way’s annual meeting Tuesday evening at the Lake Club, he issued a challenge to those gathered.

“This is our 100th year, let’s set our goal at $3.5 million,” he said, prompting nervous laughter from the audience and a look of surprise from Hannon.

“We’re not going to let you down,” he assured.

“A big part of my evaluation is making a goal,” Hannon joked later.

Nearly 500 people packed the banquet room at the Lake Club to celebrate the successes reached by the United Way in 2018. During the event, which was sponsored by Chemical Bank, United Way recognized the top campaigns and volunteers for the 2018 campaign that raised a total of $3,065,532. It’s the third consecutive year United Way has raised more than $3 million.

“Without the money there wouldn’t be the mission,” Hannon told the audience.

Mary Sellers, U.S. president of United Way Worldwide, addresses those gathered.

Since 2012, that work has been focused on directing resources to community needs, particularly in area of early childhood education.

In 2009, United Way began its Success By 6 Program, which focuses on readiness for kindergarten.

The Success After 6 reading program followed in 2015. Last year, the United Way expanded the program to 13 schools in Campbell, Girard, Liberty, Youngstown City Schools and Youngstown Community School.

“We’re really proud of that,” said Roxann Sebest, director of marketing and communications.

Other highlights in 2018 include serving more than 600 students with the Success By 6 program, and donating two pairs of free eyeglasses to 255 students at Youngstown City Schools.

“We’ve served over 9,000 children through Imagination Library. We have about 5,000 enrolled right now and about 4,000 have graduated from the program since we started,” said Sebest.

The celebration marks a new chapter for United Way, which turned 100 years old in February. Through its Centennial Campaign, which will run throughout 2019, United Way is working to build awareness of its work and highlight past successes.

The four presenting sponsors of the campaign are Greenwood Chevrolet, PNC Bank, The Muransky Companies and Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC. But the sponsors won’t just be donating funds in 2019, they’ll also be running the fundraising campaign.

Greg Greenwood of Greenwood Chevrolet, Ted Schmidt of PNC Bank, Ed and Chris Muransky of the Muransky Companies, and Doug Sweeney and Alexa Sweeney Blackann of Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, will co-chair the 2019 campaign.

Mary Sellers, the U.S. President of United Way Worldwide, delivered the keynote address.

“It’s a big deal when any organization hits 100 years, but when you’re a venerable organization like United Way, who’s served this community for 100 years, it’s really remarkable,” she said.

Sellers said in all that time the mission and vision of United Way hasn’t changed, but the environment in which it does its work has.

The four changes having the biggest impact on the nonprofit, she said, are migration, demographics, technology and globalization.

“Now we have our corporate partners saying, ‘Not only do I want to do good work in Youngstown, I also want to do it in Seoul, South Korea,’ ” she said.

Another change, Sellers noted, is in the way donors interact with United Way. While once they might have been happy to simply donate money, today “donors want to be directly involved in the causes they care about.”

It’s a change Hannon says the local chapter is embracing.

“If we do the right things and we do the right work, we’ll get the dollars,” he said.

Last year was the first time in about 20 years the United Way’s largest workplace campaign didn’t come from General Motors Lordstown and the UAW. Since the plant closed in March, Hannon says he’s been asked by at least 50 people how the nonprofit will get by without its biggest partner.

“I’m going to miss the 200 volunteers,” he said, before noticing Bill Brennan – who headed the chapter for 30 years – in the audience.

“When Bill Brennan was director, Youngstown Sheet and Tube was the biggest workplace campaign, then Delphi. Since the 1990s it’s been GM/UAW. In 10 years, it’ll be somebody else and we’ll still be here and we’re going to be here doing the work,” he assured.

During the meeting, several individuals and organizations were recognized for their contributions to United Way in 2018.

  • Huntington Bank’s Shivers received the Campaign Chair Award.
  • Vince Colaluca, Austintown Local Schools, received the Campaign Leadership Award.
  • AFL-CIO union counselors received the Labor Leadership Award.
  • The Parker McHenry Board Excellence Award was given to Betty Jo Licata, Dean of the Williamson College of Business Administration at Youngstown State University.
  • Cortland Bank and the Kool Boiz Foundation received the Impact Leadership Awards.
  • The Volunteer Excellence Award was presented to Jack Wollitz, chairman of the Muransky Companies Bass Classic, and Lori Delserone of Raphael’s School of Beauty.
  • Receiving the Dedicated Service Award were Sight for All United, and St. John’s Episcopal Church and First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown.

During the business portion of the meeting, the United Way voted to re-elect Larry Fauver, Steven Hanousek, Neil Kaback, Brian Kolenich, Parker McHenry, Julie Michael Smith, Garry Mrozek, Bill Padisak, Ted Schmidt and Denise Stewart to its board of directors.

Josh Toot was elected to the seat vacated by outgoing board member Carl Culp.

The top workplace campaigns, in order, for the 2018 fundraising drive were:

• The Muransky Companies
• General Motors and UAW Local 1112
• Dearing Compressor and Pump Co.
• Compco Industries
• Youngstown State University
• Home Savings Bank
• AT&T
• Dinesol Plastics Inc.
• Exal Corp.

New workplace campaigns were:

• Exal Corporation
• Integrated Fab
• Western Reserve Port Authority
• Coleman Professional Services

The top foundation supporters were:
Frank & Pearl Gelbman Charitable Foundation

• Home Savings Charitable Foundation
• Walter & Helen Bender Memorial Fund
• PNC Foundation
• Walter E. & Caroline H. Watson Foundation

Pictured: Award winners William Shivers, the 2018 Campaign Chairman, and Mary Beth Houser and Dave Sabine of the Frank & Pearl Gelbman Charitable Foundation, with Stacia Erdos vice president of strategic planning for the United Way.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.