The gathering was United
Way of Greater Lorain County’s Celebration of Community Impact
at Lorain County Community College’s Spitzer Conference Center
and included a report from United Way of Greater Lorain County
executive director Bill Harper.
“The complex problems that
are negatively affecting our community - the ones that most
people say can’t be solved - we go looking for them. And we find
every dollar we can to address them,” said Harper. “But we are
more than the fundraisers.
“We aspire to improve the
lives of individuals beyond the duration of the programs in
which they are enrolled. We want to empower people so they can
be stable, healthy, happy, and sustainable after the program has
ended. This is long-term work and it is not easy. But it is
Tim Alcorn of AM 930 WEOL radio served as the master of ceremonies
for the celebration. Throughout the event, several speakers
shared personal stories on how the work of United Way has
changed their lives.
“I was working hard to pay
my way through school and I was moments away from completing the
Paramedic program at LCCC,” said Theresa Tobin, who
shared her experiences of receiving assistance from the UCAN
Community Collaborative. “I had worked so very hard to get
through the program, but with the time commitment I was only
able to work part time delivering pizzas.
“I started to fall behind
on my bills, and as I fell behind, there were added expenses for
utility shutoffs and evictions, and I felt like I was all on my
own trying to conquer what seemed like a losing battle. Like I
was drowning and would have to give up.
“I was able to receive
assistance for rent and with food, and I was invited back to
take part in the Christmas program to ensure that my children
had the holiday that they deserved for being such good boys.
“I cannot tell you how
much I’ve cried writing this, tears of thankfulness and
gratitude for the help that gave me the boost I needed.
“And because of this help,
I know my brightest days are ahead. I graduated the EMT program
and am now pursuing my RN degree. I know there is still work to
do but I also know that I’m not alone.”
During the event, Harper
revealed how much was raised by the community to support United
Way’s work in achieving community impact. The total included the
annual fundraising campaign and funds that were leveraged
through United Way’s 11 Community Collaboratives, which were
able to bring additional resources into Lorain County because of
United Way’s innovative collaborative approach.
This year’s total raised was $2,940,019.
***The program also
highlighted the achievements of the organizations across the
county for their participation in the United Way of Greater
Lorain County annual campaign.
The Live United Award
is the highest honor bestowed upon a local company and its
employees by United Way. It recognizes exemplary corporate
leadership, dedication, and community involvement that betters
lives throughout Greater Lorain County. The recipient was the
Ridge Tool Company, which increased their campaign by over
20 percent, topping $158,000 with employee giving and their
annual corporate gift. Ridge Tool also supported United Way’s
Center for Community Transformation in downtown Lorain with a
$40,000 capital gift, earning naming rights to the center’s
community engagement space.
“We’re honored and humbled
to receive this award. The success of our campaign is because of
the tremendous people we have at Ridge Tool,” said Kevin Rhodes,
vice president of human resources at the Ridge Tool Company. “I
turn this around and thank everybody in the community for the
great work that you’re all doing and I encourage everybody to
continue supporting United Way.”
The Community Partnership Award acknowledges a collaboration whose
United Way activities have resulted in a positive impact on the
quality of life in Greater Lorain County. Honored with the award
was the Lorain County Free Tax Prep Coalition, which
includes AARP Tax-Aide, Chemical Bank, City of Lorain, Elyria
Public Library System, the Legal Aid Society, Lorain Public
Library System, Ohio Means Jobs, PNC Bank, and United Way of
Greater Lorain County. As sponsors, site hosts, volunteers, and
legal support, each member plays a vital role in harnessing the
power of community volunteers to prepare taxes for two thousand
low-to- moderate income families each year, bringing over $2
million back into Lorain County in refunds.
The Impact Award
recognizes not only dollar contributions, but also employee
support and participation specific to United Way’s impact areas
and was awarded to PolyOne Corporation. In addition to
systematically running a best-practice campaign, PolyOne
routinely supplies leadership to United Way’s board of directors
and campaign cabinet, all while providing sponsorships and
volunteer muscle to countless days of caring.
The Pillar Award
acknowledges the organizations with the largest percentage
increase in employee participation, by size of the company. The
five recipients were Invacare Corporation, Target, RW Beckett
Corporation, Lorain County Auditor’s Office, and Natural
The Pinnacle Award
recognizes the companies with a high degree of support for the
United Way's mission and acknowledges the spirit and dedication
exemplified in their fundraising activities. The five recipients
were PolyOne Corporation, Lorain County Community College,
Lubrizol Advanced Materials, UPS, and Vandemark Jewelers.
More information on United
Way of Greater Lorain County can be found at uwloraincounty.org
or by calling 440-277-6530.