United Way Raises More than $3.4M in Record Year

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley announced this morning that it raised $3,476,600 in its 2021 Annual Campaign – the most money raised in an annual campaign in the chapter’s 102-year history.

When the pandemic heightened urgent and emerging needs, the United Way was “uniquely positioned and built for this work by improving lives through direct service, collaboration, volunteerism and advocacy,” the nonprofit stated in a release.

“Our role as a leader in the non-profit community during this crisis inspired our donors to generously support our work once again.”

The United Way will invest the money raised directly back into the Mahoning Valley through its programming.

Chris and Lisa Sammartino were co-chairs of the 2021 campaign. Chris Sammartino is a member of the United Way board and chairman of its marketing committee. He helped plan the 100th Anniversary Gala. Lisa Sammartino is a member of Women United, which focuses on the children in the nonprofit’s initiatives.

“We both have seen firsthand the amazing work the United Way does in the community. We serve as report card mentors. We volunteer for the Satur-Day of Caring, and we help with the Christmas Gift Drive for the Success After 6 programs every year,” Chris and Lisa Sammartino said in a prepared statement. “We were extremely honored to take on the role of co-chairs for the campaign. The community needs to know about the excellent work the United Way does for our neighbors in need. We want to bring that message to everyone and knew we could do it in this role.”

The Sammartinos joined Bob Hannon, president of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, in thanking the donors who helped raised more than $3 million for the sixth consecutive year.

“This funding will allow us, two years into the pandemic, to continue to stabilize the individuals and homes most impacted,” Hannon said. “We are feeding hungry children and families, providing basic needs, helping nonprofit partners withstand drops in funding, and continuing the impactful work that we were doing before we faced the pandemic.”

The United Way welcomed three new employers during last year’s workplace campaign: Hynes Industries, Meijer and 898 Marketing.

The top 10 workplace campaigns last year were:

  1. The Muransky Companies
  2. Youngstown City School District
  3. Dearing Compressor and Pump Co.
  4. Farmers National Bank
  5. Fireline Inc.
  6. Premier Bank
  7. UPS
  8. Aim Transportation Solutions
  9. Joe Dickey Electric
  10. Youngstown State University

The top 10 foundations were:

  1. Frank and Pearl Gelbman Charitable Foundation
  2. PNC Foundation
  3. The Youngstown Foundation
  4. Premier Bank Charitable Foundation
  5. William M. Neckerman, Jr. Charitable Foundation
  6. W. & H. Bender Memorial Fund
  7. Ronald McDonald House Charities
  8. The John D. Beeghly Fund
  9. Walter E. & Caroline H. Watson Foundation
  10. John F. and Loretta A. Hynes Foundation

The Muransky family started the United Way Satur-Day of Caring initiative during the pandemic, which delivered food directly to the homes of seniors, shut-ins and families who could not – and should not – go out during the pandemic.

The Satur-Day of Caring started with 100 households and has quadrupled over the past 18 months and led to a “dramatic increase” in the nonprofit’s volunteer base, according to the release.

Every third Saturday, 150 volunteers help pack and deliver bags of food. Through the campaign, United Way engaged more than 500 new volunteers through 2020 and 2021, and looks to grow that number this year, particularly through early education Initiatives.

As students returned to in-person learning, the United Way transitioned its educational wraparound services for any changes within the partner districts caused by the pandemic. The Success By 6 staff welcomed students and families back over the summer months, and the nonprofit served 588 children across 18 school districts with its kindergarten readiness initiative, focusing on math, literacy and social-emotional development.

Success After 6 offered in-person after-school programming as well as virtual tutoring opportunities through the Vello initiative, which offers one-on-one reading sessions for students and tutors through a safe and secure digital setting. Vello is now in four area schools, up from one.

Last year’s Success After 6 Adopt-a-School Champions were:

  1. The DeBartolo Corporation – Denise and John York.
  2. Huntington Bank.
  3. Gloria Jones and Fireline Inc., in honor of Roger D. Jones.
  4. Ed and Chris Muransky.

Success After 6 Adopt-a-School partners were Aim Transportation Solutions and Farmers National Bank.

Also in 2021, the United Way Imagination Library has expanded to provide more than 6,000 children in Mahoning County with one free book a month. The nonprofit looks to increase its reach with special programming with partners schools, according to the release.

As its initiatives expand, so does the need for services provided by the United Way’s 35 nonprofit partner agencies. The impact committee from the organization’s board is reviewing applications from Mahoning County nonprofits for the 2022-2024 funding cycle.

Pictured: United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley Board Member Chris Sammartino, President Bob Hannon and Lisa Sammartino, a member of Women United. Chris and Lisa Sammartino co-chaired the 2021 Annual Campaign.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.