Were you one of the lives touched by United Way in 2018? You, or maybe a family member or a friend?
United Way supports the services of 15 Partner Agencies, First Call For Help Fostoria and several grants. Together these organizations touched the lives of Fostorians an estimated 76,750 times. A touch can be any UWF funded service, such as a visit to the Fostoria Senior Center or participating in youth sports at the YMCA or receiving school supplies or moving a young family into a new Habitat for Humanity house or supporting people undergoing treatment for cancer.
UWF invested $333,808 in Fostoria last year, including allocations to the Partner Agencies, sponsorships and grants, FCFHF information and referral service, and FCFHF directed donations from local churches and a regional foundation. Special in 2018 are two one-time grants that infused nearly $66,000 into the community to prevent families from becoming homeless and students from missing school.
Volunteers made all this happen. Just within the UWF, an estimated 1,400 hours were donated by the United Way Board, committees and campaign volunteers. When we multiply that by the 15 agencies and related organizations, the total really adds up! It is easy to imagine that everyone who lives, works and goes to school in Fostoria is touched at least once a year by the extended United Way family.
Beyond services, dollars and volunteerism, the UWF actively seeks to identify unmet needs in the community. Our board discusses service gaps at every board meeting. Last year we visited most of the Partner Agency Boards to gather their input with unmet needs. A portion of each of the quarterly InterAgency Forums, hosted by UWF, is reserved for needs discussions. Plus, UWF continually gathers data and monitors assistance requests from FCFHF and other organizations.
The top three issues that UWF prioritized in 2018 were substance abuse, the lack of mental health services in Fostoria, and homelessness, defined as “lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” Midway through the year concern about childhood poverty was added.
When the UWF Board prioritizes an issue, the UWF community starts working to solve that problem. The work that FCFHF and others are doing with homelessness and childhood poverty is highlighted on page 4. Fostoria went from nearly zero mental health services available locally last year, to four organizations offering a variety of services this year. Lastly, we are very proud of the establishment of H.O.P.E. in Fostoria, a new organization dedicated to education and prevention of heroin and opioid abuse in Fostoria.
On a personal note, this is the last year of my seven years on the United Way Board. It has been a rewarding experience and a great way to serve my community. I look forward to continuing my association with United Way as the 2019 Campaign Chair.
Thank you to all the volunteers and donors and staff for a great 2018!
Andrea Cress, UWF President, 2016-2018
Grants from United Way of Fostoria are awarded to projects which respond to emerging and immediate needs and/or present an innovative solution to a highlighted issue in the community. Funds for the grants come from an annual foundation distribution, and not from campaign donations.
The Grants Committee, consisting of Andrea Cress, Dorothy Conine, Amie Hathaway, Denise Brown, Julie Reinhart and Scott Scherf, recommended the following awards in 2018:
Grants support a variety of programs in the fields of education, basic human needs, physical and mental health, and income development. Nonprofit, charitable organizations which have tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) are eligible.
For more information, please contact Evelyn Marker at the United Way office.