Live United was the theme of United Way Services of Geauga County’s Annual Meeting, held Friday, April 17 at the Notre Dame Education Center. With over 200 guests, United Way celebrated its valued community support.
In the past year, United Way has made big changes in the way it addresses community problems by adopting a “Community Impact” model, which calls upon the resources of the entire county to improve lives. Dave Chew, Board Chair of United Way, stated: “In 2014-15, we have started to implement our strategic plan and move to a new model of funding. While we still fund programs relating to education, financial stability and health, we are now narrowing our focus to accomplish specific goals. In education, we are focusing on making sure every Geauga kindergartner comes to school ready to learn. To create financial stability, we are finding ways to more effectively provide benefits and services so that individuals can remain in their jobs and in their homes. In the health arena, United Way is currently focusing on disease prevention and access to health care.”
“United Way has been supporting Geauga County for over 50 years. When an organization has been around for as long as we have, it needs to change and adapt to new ways of serving the community. Instead of funding programs, we are now trying to solve problems that are specific to Geauga. It’s a new way of operating and we think a better way to help our residents most in need,” said Chew.
Erica Acheson, of Fifth Third Bank, who served as a 2014 campaign Co-Chair with Monica Lennon of University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center, thanked the community for contributing to a campaign, which raised $921,535. “We are humbled by the generosity of individuals and businesses who give of their time and resources to help their neighbors. We are incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful county with so many resources. Unfortunately, not all residents enjoy the high standard of living that many of us do. We are fortunate to have such a generous community that is willing to give to those who are less fortunate,” said Acheson.
Special awards were given to the following: Tom Chmura, Salvation Army; Connie Jones, Salvation Army; Mary Jane Trapp, Thrasher, Dinsmore and Dolan; Paul Davis Restoration, Chagrin Falls; Stateside Underwriting, Chagrin Falls; University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center; Giant Eagle, Tanglewood; Kent State University, Geauga; Mar-Bal, Inc.; Chardon High School; Westwood Elementary School; Home Savings and Loan, Chardon; Lubrizol Corporation; PNC Bank, Chardon; Sheoga Hardwood and Paneling, Inc.; Cleveland Clinic, Chagrin Falls Family Health Center; De Nora Tech; Geauga County Park District; Geauga County Public Library; Geauga Savings Bank; FirstEnergy Corporation.
Kimm Leininger, Executive Director, outlined how a dollar at United Way serves the community in a variety of ways through the different programs they fund. “A donation to United Way truly does support a large part of the community. It provides not just financial support, but leverages volunteers and mobilizes others to care and support our most vulnerable residents,” said Leininger.
United Way thanked sponsors of the event: Kent State University, Geauga; Kinetico; De Nora Tech; Geauga Savings Bank; Lubrizol Corporation; West Geauga Kiwanis; Rotary Club of Chesterland, Chesterland Rotary Foundation, UPS; Channel Products; Giant Eagle and Mar-Bal Incorporated.