By Steven Hoffman
There are many different ways to measure the impact that the United Way of Southern Chester County has on the community.
One is to look at the amount of money that the United Way distributes each year to Chester County non-profits so that those organizations can help local residents. The figure for the most recent year was $975,000. If you include various in-house programs, the total amount the United Way invested in the community was $1,062,800.
Another way to measure the impact is to look at how many local residents benefit from services that were sponsored by United Way funding. In 2012, there were a total of 32,492 residents who were helped by one of the 32 sponsored programs, including education and prevention programs. The number of clients in southern Chester County who were directly served by the sponsored programs was 18,973.
Need another measurement?
“Over the last 25 years, the United Way of Southern Chester County has put over $15 million into local programs serving our neighbors in need,” said Carrie Freeman, executive director of the United Way of Southern Chester County. “The United Way of Southern Chester County funds such a wide array of programs, serving people of all ages and all needs. We are truly comprehensive—one gift funds an entire network of help.”
But perhaps the surest way to measure the United Way’s impact is to consider the people behind the statistics. How many women had a place to turn because the United Way provides support to the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County? How many senior citizens benefit from programs that are made possible because the United Way supports the Kennett Area Senior Center, the Oxford Area Senior Center, or Adult Care of Chester County, Inc.? How many families have enjoyed better living conditions because of the Good Neighbors Home Repair or how many children have benefitted from classes at the Kennett After School Association or activities at the Garage Community & Youth Center? The United Way provides valuable funding to all of them.
More than $400,000 of the money that the United Way of Southern Chester County distributes each year goes to programs that provide crisis intervention for families in immediate need.
At the annual meeting on May 15, United Way of Southern Chester County officials announced that $1,144,063 has been raised in the 2013-14 campaign thus far, 95 percent of the $1.2 million goal.
“We’re very pleased with the generosity of our donors,” said Karen Myers, president of the board of directors for the United Way of Southern Chester County. She said they are optimistic that they will reach the goal.
“We think that we’re really close,” said Myers.
Ed Sparks, the vice president of the campaign, said that the current campaign has been boosted by an influx of new leadership donors, who are the largest donors to the United Way, but they weren’t seeing the same response to direct-mail appeals.
Freeman noted that the $975,000 that the United Way of Southern Chester County is able to allocate to agencies because of the 1,630 people who donate to the United Way.
The United Way of Southern Chester County has also introduced new fundraisers including a road rally in the fall, a pasta dinner at Unionville High School each spring, and a chocolate festival to increase the amount of money that they have to distribute to non-profits.
“These events raised funds for our community programs, brought together hundreds of people to have a good time and gave us a chance to reach out to them,” Myers said. “In short, we are working to foster a culture of giving…”
Myers talked how the staff of the United Way of Southern Chester County works hard to make sure that there is low overhead so that as much money as possible is goes for the intended purposes.
“In addition to fundraising, mentoring, and allocations, our office is a one-stop referral source for residents in need—whether a battered spouse is looking for legal aid or a safe haven, the office staff has the connections to help,” Myers said.
While the United Way of Southern Chester County is able to help thousands of families from Nottingham to Unionville each year, it still receives more requests for help than it can accommodate.
“Imagine what we could accomplish another 200 or 400 local donors,” Freeman said. “We have donor gifts ranging from $5 to $15,000. You don’t have to give a lot. Our goal is to get more people to know what the United Way is. When people do their charitable giving, we want them to consider the United Way because we are all-encompassing.”
The current campaign runs through Aug. 31. To make a donation, send a check to UWSCC, 106 West State Street, Kennett Square or visit online at www.unitedwayscc.org.
To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
SLUG: United Way of Southern Chester County
Photo by Steven Hoffman
Karen Myers, the president of the board, Ed Sparks, the vice president of the campaign, and Carrie Freeman, the executive director, reported that the 2013-14 campaign has reached 95 percent of the goal for the current campaign.
Photo by Steven Hoffman
The new members of the United Way of Southern Chester County board are Krishna Doraiswamy, Rod Tate, Elizabeth Curtis Swain, and Mary Ruth Johnson.
Photo by Steven Hoffman
The board of directors of the United Way of Southern Chester County.