United Way Receives $1.5M for Volunteer Center from Sen. Brown Funding Request

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley will construct a new volunteer resource center funded by a $1.5 million award from the federal funding package signed into law last month by President Joe Biden.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, was key to securing the Congressionally Directed Spending funding through the Senate Appropriations Committee, according to a press release. Brown’s efforts secured more than $100 million for projects throughout Ohio.

“Youngstown has a strong legacy of hard work and community. That’s why I was proud to support this federal investment in United Way’s resource center,” Brown said. “The funding will help those in the Mahoning Valley build on the region’s proud legacy, and ensure Ohioans stay connected and get critical services they need.”

The United Way announced plans for the volunteer center at its annual meeting on April 7. Through its strength in fundraising and bringing on strong, dedicated volunteers, the organization supports a number of nonprofits and social service agencies in the area, according to the release.

The Community Response and Volunteer Center will fill service gaps in the area, and allow community partners to quickly respond to needs, such as food, emergency needs and financial services. It will be located in Boardman.

By having a presence in the county beyond its headquarters in downtown Youngstown, the United Way will be able to serve surrounding areas and bring in volunteers from the entire Mahoning Valley, said Bob Hannon, president of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

“We are honored Senator Brown saw the value in our project amongst all the ones he was presented with throughout the entire state of Ohio,” Hannon said. “When the pandemic hit, our United Way saw how people wanted to roll up their sleeves and give back during these unprecedented times. And we realized there was a need for an organized volunteer front here in the Mahoning Valley, to efficiently connect people to agencies that needed help.

“Boardman is a central spot where volunteers can easily access and gather to get the important work done for those in need.”

Since the spring of 2020, the local United Way has engaged more than 500 people who have never participated in a United Way opportunity prior to the pandemic, according to the release.

The organization is working with area stakeholders and donors on the project and hopes to break ground and begin construction this spring.

Of the $205 million in Congressionally Directed Spending awards secured for 139 projects in Ohio, Sen. Brown secured $107 million for 77 projects, which he said will help create jobs, lower costs for families and invest in Ohio communities.

“My office and I regularly host and attend meetings with local leaders, because listening to the concerns facing communities across Ohio is the best way for me to do my job and serve Ohioans,” Brown said in the release. “We need to use every tool available to get resources to Ohio, and that’s what we did with these local priorities. The best ideas don’t come out of Washington – they come from Ohioans who know better than anyone what their communities need.”

Click HERE to see a full list of the project fund secured by Brown.

Pictured: File photo of United Way of Youngstown and Mahoning Valley volunteers loading bags of food to be distributed during a Satur-Day of Caring event.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.