The United Way of Hancock County announced that its 2022 campaign raised nearly $2 million to allocate toward grants that provide critical services to 1 in 4 residents of the community.
The United Way recognizes and responds to the changing needs of Hancock County’s most vulnerable residents by communicating regularly with local nonprofit agencies, government officials and community leaders. In the fall, United Way’s grant review committee of trained volunteers identified food security, children’s issues, housing, health, workforce development and transportation as community priorities and voted to fund 23 local programs that support these areas in the coming year.
“We know that changes in the economy have impacted so many children, families and individuals in our community,” said United Way of Hancock County CEO Angela DeBoskey. “We are proud to support programming that delivers critical services and tools to those who need them most.”
The funds being distributed were raised through United Way’s 2022 Annual Campaign, which engages individual donors and retirees, as well as employees through workplace philanthropy. The 2022 fall campaign raised a total of $1.9 million.
“We are proud to contribute to our community in such a meaningful way, and we thank our fundraising team, individual donors and workplace campaign partners for joining us in this effort. We are truly so appreciative of your contributions and for supporting our work to strengthen those who are struggling to meet basic needs,” DeBoskey said.
Vulnerable Child Initiative
Although many of the 2023 funded programs cross categories, those falling under United Way’s Vulnerable Child Initiative will receive a total of $335,000 in support of advocacy, prevention and crisis response efforts.
Child safety funding will be distributed to CASA/GAL of Hancock County, which trains volunteers to give youth a voice in the court system; the Center for Safe and Healthy Children’s forensic interview program following a report of child abuse; child victim services programs through Open Arms; equine-assisted therapy for youth through Challenged Champions Equestrian Center; Children’s Mentoring Connection of Hancock County’s youth mentoring programs; Scouting programs through Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio; the Salvation Army’s summer enrichment program; and preschool programs through Findlay City Schools and the Hancock County Educational Service Center.
Food security programs have been allocated over $266,000. United Way strategically increased funding in this area in response to rising grocery prices and the anticipated end to emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Food security funds will support the YMCA’s Feed-A-Child program, which administers the summer lunch program and provides weekend meal bags for students; vouchers for individuals and families in need of supplemental food through Christian Clearing House; West Ohio Food Bank’s distributions to Hancock County food pantries; and food programs at the Salvation Army.
Safety and health
Safety and health allocations for 2023 total $272,000. Supported programs are aimed at strengthening physical and mental health among Hancock County residents.
Funds allocated for safety and health will support financial assistance through Cancer Patient Services, an organization dedicated to cancer patients living or working in Hancock County; adult victim services through Open Arms; and disaster services programs though the local American Red Cross.
Realizing the impact housing has on the stability of our community, $216,000 has been awarded to the family shelter and independence programs at Hope House – Housing Services for the Homeless. Both programs are aimed at helping amid rising rent costs and evictions.
Workforce development and transportation
Workforce development and transportation programs will receive $79,000. Funds will be distributed to HHWP Community Action Commission for the Hancock Area Transportation Services (HATS) program, which provides rides to employment, medical appointments and more; and Raise the Bar Hancock County for career exploration for students countywide.
Additional funding will continue to help United Way deliver programs like the Halt Hunger Initiative and Community Gardens, which yields an average of 4,000 pounds of produce each season; and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, currently underway and providing free tax preparation services for qualifying Hancock County residents. Volunteers United placed over 10,500 volunteer hours in 2022.
All money raised in Hancock County stays local to support vital services, unless otherwise designated by the donor. United Way of Hancock County regularly seeks state and federal grants to help bolster funds raised locally and to allow the organization to use campaign dollars most effectively.
Visit uwhancock.org to donate or to learn more about the United Way’s mission and work.