United Way announces campaign ambassadors and cabinet

The leading force behind the Lycoming County United Way campaign this year are the 13 campaign ambassadors and the campaign cabinet that work together to help meet the campaign goal of trying to impact 55,000 lives in the community.

So what does a campaign ambassador do?

“We used to have individuals called loan executives … A company in town would loan supporters as the United Way volunteer. The program started decades ago,” said Ronald A. Frick, president of the Lycoming County United Way.

Frick himself used to be a loan executive when he first started out with United Way, and now United Way has developed the loan executive role into being a campaign ambassador.

“Then my employer said, ‘You’re a loan executive … we’re going to lend you to the United Way, going to have you go talk to companies about why giving to the United Way and why we support it,'” Frick said. “Back in 1984, I was assigned to five different companies in town.”

He said that he would be available at all hours to go wherever a company needed him to be to educate and talk about the United Way. If he needed to talk to hospital night nurses late in the evening, he’d be there. If he had to be at the opening early hours of a factory to talk to factory workers, he’d be there.

“I basically spent my time, which my employer gave me, to the United Way,” Frick said. “I spoke about why it was great to give money to the United Way. We cruised along with that program for decades until about four years ago.”

Over time, it became increasingly difficult for businesses to allow opportunities to stand in front of large groups of staff members, so the idea of campaign ambassadors fell by the wayside.

“I brought it back this year for two reasons,” Frick said. “One, it’s a great way to engage volunteers and promote the United Way.”

He said as long as someone has connections in the community, they can talk to those connections about the United Way.

“So, a campaign ambassador is responsible for 3-4 accounts,” he said. “They’re basically the volunteer connection between the company and the United Way.”

Frick said that the ambassadors are folks who have just graduated or recently graduated Leadership Lycoming, and they’re looking to be involved with the community. Now as campaign ambassadors, they work as relationship managers between specific companies and the United Way to encourage staff to help donate to the United Way’s campaign.

This year’s campaign ambassadors group is led by Alyssa Rogers, Lycoming County United Way board member, a human resource generalist and employee campaign coordinator with Larson Design Group.

The 2017 campaign ambassadors are the following:

• Tara Day-Ulrich, YWCA Northcentral PA.

• Doug Harkness, James V. Brown Library.

• Max Houseknecht Jr., River Valley Health and Dental Clinic.

• Jillian Houser, community volunteer.

• Michael Ochs, Best Line Leasing.

• Trinia Poust, Little League baseball and softball.

• Justin Ross, Williamsport Area School District.

• Heather Stafford, UPMC Susquehanna.

• Paul Watson, Pennsylvania College of Technology.

• Tanya Weber, Hope Enterprises.

• Justin Wenner, Larson Design Group.

• Kim Wetherhold, The Muncy Bank and Trust Co.

• Paula Yeckley, Community Services Group.

The campaign ambassadors work as a subset underneath the umbrella of the campaign cabinet. Division chairs of the cabinet cover certain sections for the campaign.

“Every year we form a resource group, and we call it a campaign cabinet,” Frick said. “It’s lead by the campaign chair.”

This year’s campaign chair is Robert Glunk, president and CEO of Muncy Bank and Trust Co. His vice chairs are Mary Jo and Maurice Bower.

Corporations division chairs are LeeAnn Gephart and Brian Brooking of Woodlands Bank.

“Then we take the county division, and we break it up … six municipalities,” Frick said. “All those folks are employed by Muncy Bank.”

County business and residential division chairs for East Lycoming is Krista Dyer, Jersey Shore is Elizabeth Hill, Montgomery is Katie Ulrich, Montoursville is Kirsten Minier, Muncy is Kimberly Feigles and South Williamsport is Kevin Weinhoffer. All are from Muncy Bank and Trust Co.

The education division chair is Gerald McLaughlin, superintendent of Loyalsock Township School District.

“Education is all the school districts in the county,” Frick said. “It’s the first time we’ve had a superintendent chair it. It’s been great to have a superintendent step up and take it. I know it’ll help a lot.”

The energy division chair is Bryan Pauling of Larson Design Group.

“The energy section is focused in gas and oil industry,” Frick said.

Human services division chairs are Melissa Margargle of Family Promise of Lycoming and County Dawn Astin of American Rescue Workers-Williamsport.

“Human services is headed by two program partners. They’re responsible for going out and talking to all the others about the United Way campaign,” Frick said.

Frick and Glunk are the division chairs of leadership gifts.

“Our leadership level starts at $500 dollars, and we have a goal to add 100 new leadership givers this year,” Frick said.

Barry Rake of Kent Bennett and Associates is the division chair for professional.

“The professional division is attorneys, accountants, doctors and any professional,” Frick said.

Tim Mahoney, community volunteer, and Paul Nyman, Loyalsock Township supervisor, are the public service division chairs.

“Public service is water and sewer, city of Williamsport, municipalities of the county, townships, boroughs, etc.,” Frick said.

Carolyn Hawk, Lycoming County United Way, is the state employee combined appeal division chair.

“Everyone who works for the state has the option for giving to a number of organizations,” Frick said. “Carolyn organizes speakers to go to whoever wants them, anyone who has a state organization who wants us to come talk about what we do.”

Michael Loeh, West Milton State Bank, is the Williamsport small business division chair.

Mary Engel, community volunteer, is the Williamsport residential division chair.

“We send out letters, and Mary calls them up and asks them to make a contribution to the United Way,” Frick said.

Frick said that the campaign depends on volunteers.

“Most of what we do is volunteer. The more I can get done with volunteers, the less I have to do with staff,” he said. “That helps us keep our overhead down and take the investment our organization and give it to our program partners.”

He said having 24 in the campaign cabinet and having 13 campaign ambassadors is a great number to have out there talking to people about the United Way.

“And that’s the beginning as there are people under the groups. All of the people that come and volunteer,” Frick said. “It’s just a ton of people, and they’re involved in this campaign.”

He said it’s all for a great cause.

“We need the money to help the people, and you help people through the allocation process. It all starts with people to help the organization so you can do it,” he said.