United Way focuses on helping more people each year
Since starting in 1922, the Lycoming County United Way has been serving and funding community based programs that focus on a multitude of issues that impact our community on a daily basis. Ron Frick, CEO and President, alongside Brittany Fischer, vice president community impact, work to serve Lycoming, Tioga and Sullivan counties creating opportunities for programs to positively impact health, health education, and financial stability for citizens in the community.
“United Way is an umbrella organization,” Frick said. “It deals with the most critical human service needs, working through community partners. Our goal is to fight for health, health education and financial stability for every person in the community.
In the close community of Lycoming county, there are 27 different programs being funded though UW and the programs are being delivered through 23 different organizations.
“Specific to this area, there are programs stemming from emergency situations for shelter purposes,” Fischer said. “For women coming out of abusive situations, all the way down to education items where we work in early education with child care programs.”
Other programs exist at local libraries and within local schools that are all community impact and or health based. The money that is donated to the United Way is directly given to said programs to provide the program with the resources they need. The investment doesn’t go through the organization or agency.
“I think that’s what sets us apart; when people are wondering what is the value of giving to us (United Way) that we are administering their money to that program not the agency,” Fischer said. “Knowing that our money is directly impacting how that program operates:
without us there’s a chance that some of them would not be available as resources in the community.”
“Generally it’s through mobilizing community resources, community partners, marketing assets, whatever it takes to mobilize the existing resources in the community to improve people’s lives or to create new resources if they don’t already exist,” Frick said.
The United Way has a new energy and goal to continue to help more people in the community each year by funding more programs and giving back as much as they can.
“We have a new staff, a new energy and we are working towards getting more creative with our approach that way,” Fischer said. “We are engaging people in an annual day of action, we just had one in June. We are connecting organizations and volunteers for a hands on approach; it opens their eyes and gives a reason to volunteer.”
An on-going goal United Way has set is geared towards the community understanding of what the organization does, how they fund, who they fund, and how they impact the community through time. Give, volunteer, and advocate are three main attributes to the organization as they hope to bring on-going positive impacts and change to Lycoming, Tioga, and Sullivan counties through the organization.
“You can give time, financial resources, expertise, etc., you can volunteer, and advocacy learn about what we do,” Frick said.
“Change is slow, change is hard: We are working through and shock-waving how we have done things and I think that seeing people find understanding in that has been rewarding,” said Fischer.
“Our job is to figure out how to make the community work together in the best way that we can,” Frick said. “We have to work together, together we can change lives.”