The Antwerp Chamber of Commerce spotlight for the month of March is United Way of Paulding County, located at 101 E. Perry Street in Paulding, Ohio. Lora Lyons is the Executive Director of the local United Way chapter.
In 1992, a group of individuals saw a need in Paulding County to pool resources to help improve the lives of county residents. United Way strives to bring organizations and businesses together to strengthen the community. In fact, United Way’s mission is to improve lives by harnessing the caring power of the community. United Way also looks for needs within the community and helps bring resources into the county that can help meet those needs.
United Way has been in Paulding County for 30 years. It is a 501c3 non-profit intermediary organization. Businesses have the option to donate to United Way and can designate which non-profit organization they would like the funds to go to. As a 501c3, all donations are tax deductible.
United Way is best known for providing grants that help with education, health, and financial stability. Staff are also known for their volunteerism in the community. What sets them apart from other organizations like them is that they try to break through barriers and work with multiple organizations. “We are here to uplift others and help them achieve their goals. Currently, we serve on several boards and committees to help us stay informed of county needs. Some of these councils are: Family and Children First Council, Northwest Ohio Children Trust Fund, Northwest Ohio Homeless Committee, Habitat for Humanity of Paulding County, Paulding County Hospital Foundation, Kiwanis of Paulding County, and several local chambers of commerce, including our own. -beloved Chamber of Antwerp! said Ex. Réal. Lora Lyons.
Someone should choose United Way to donate because they work with many organizations and try to stay as connected as possible so that when people need help, they know where to send it. They do their best to support organizations and fund programs that support our core values.
Lora believes that people continue to support United Way’s efforts because of the commitment and dedication to community that people see when they think of United Way. United Way of Paulding County is made up of local residents who specialize in health, education, and financial stability. They want nothing but the best for the residents of this community.
The biggest misconception about United Ways is how they’re built. United Ways is specific to their individual county and the needs of that county. Councils are governed by members of the local community, and council member specialties are often central to the organization, including health, education, and financial stability. They operate with a very small staff to minimize costs as their main purpose is to raise funds to provide grants to local organizations. United Way does not provide funds to individuals.
Lora is more passionate about her work because she feels deeply invested in the community and its people. A little known fact about United Way is that the worldwide organization was established in 1887.
97% of all funds donated to PC United Way stay in the county. Last year’s funds ($33,000) were able to help over 2,000 people in the county through 7 partner organizations. You can learn more about their nonprofit partner organizations on their website www.uwpcoh.org. The allocation committee is made up of members of the local community. They meet annually in June at the end of UW’s fiscal year to determine which nonprofits will receive United Way grants. All funds that flow back into Paulding County are determined by local people.
The funds also provided more than 7,300 books to children through the Dolly Parton & Ohio Governor Imagination Library. UW has also been able to provide more than 100 schoolbags filled with supplies to children in need over the past two years. United Way continues to work with local resources and push to provide what people need. They also got to do fun projects, like helping with care packages for teachers and healthcare workers; assembling kits for senior graduates that give great advice on buying their first home, car insurance and tenant insurance, opening a bank account, retirement accounts and much more!
The 3% coming out of the county for United Way Worldwide helps at the state and federal level to advocate for emergency funding for food and shelter, Medicaid, and do the necessary research so government entities know where to allocate the funds. An example of a study conducted by United Way is the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained Employed) research. This research shows how many American households are slightly above the poverty line, but do not meet the “cost of living” threshold. These are the families who work every day, who live paycheck to paycheck, with few resources available to help them because they are just above that poverty level. In Paulding County alone, an estimated 7,770 people (37% of our county) fall below this threshold. More information can be found at https://www.unitedforalice.org/.
You can donate to United Way of Paulding County by texting “Paulding” to 269-89. As a 501c3, they adhere to federal reporting guidelines and state reporting guidelines. United Way of Paulding County has a financial review performed annually by a chartered accountant. All financial statements are posted on the website to ensure full transparency. United Way Worldwide and United Way of Paulding County are both listed on GuideStar.
The Antwerp Chamber of Commerce is happy to have the United Way of Paulding County in partnership with the Community of Antwerp.