10 Jan, 2022
by Steve Logan
The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley announced today that the 2020 Campaign raised $3,389,482 for the community. In a year faced with unprecedented challenges, our United Way was able to exceed our goal thanks to the generosity of the Mahoning Valley.
Kevin Helmick, President and CEO of Farmers National Bank, served as the 2020 Campaign Chair. He joined United Way staff at the newly renovated building at 255 Watt Street to announce the campaign results. Helmick knew it would not be an easy year with all the challenges before us, but he willingly took on the role of campaign chair because he believed together we could make the most impact.
“When we started the 2020 campaign, we knew there would be unforeseen challenges. Looking back, it was a Win-Win for our community due to the philanthropic pledges of so many,” said Kevin Helmick, President and CEO of Farmers National Bank. “This support will make a difference for many families and children in the Mahoning Valley. As a true community bank, Farmers will continue to assist the organizations that impact our communities.”
When Covid-19 first hit, we were in the midst of planning our annual events, but we immediately pivoted to address the needs that arose out of the pandemic. As businesses and schools shut down, we faced uncertainty with our workplace campaigns early on in the spring of 2020. The William M. Neckerman, Jr. Charitable Foundation led by Trustee Jim Sisek and Rye Dalton and the Jane F. Lamb Charitable Foundation led by Sisek, were the first two foundations to step up allowing us to start our Covid-19 Response Fund. In 2020, the Neckerman and Lamb foundations contributed a total of $112,500 to help children and families.
“United Way wanted to serve as the backbone during the pandemic, leading the way to support those in need. Our donors at every level recognized that, and stepped up in incredible ways this past year,” said Bob Hannon, President of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. “They not only donated funding to help us get the work done, they donated their time. We saw our volunteer base increase significantly.”
In April in partnership with the Muransky Family we started our Satur-Day of Caring initiative, which spurred the increase in volunteers. Long time United Way donor and supporter, Ed Muransky noticed that people who could not and should not be out because of the pandemic were in need of food. Together we reached out to our partner agencies and compiled a list of seniors, shut-ins, and families we could deliver food directly to their homes.
Our volunteers stepped in big ways, and we saw more and more young volunteers come out to help. High School students from all over the Valley showed up early on Saturday mornings to help us pack and organize the food for Satur-Day of Caring. They volunteered their time throughout the week to make blankets and get together special goodie bags for the seniors and shut-ins.
“I have had the opportunity to witness a group of volunteers who come together with the only reward being to help those who need it,” said Gabby Pantelakis, Canfield High School Freshman and United Way Volunteer. “I was told at one of the Satur-Days of CAring how ‘thankful’ our friends truly are who receive their food packages. I have come to realize over time that I was the thankful one! Thankful to the United Way and to all of our community members who rely on us.”
The Muransky Family and Southwoods Health donated $100,000 to our work, in hopes of inspiring others to give back.
Donors began to notice the work we were doing in the community, and followed the lead of Muransky as well as the Neckerman and Lamb Foundations. Attached you will see the list of Covid-19 Relief Partners who donated $5,000 or more to our Covid-19 Relief work.
As we continued to grow our Satur-Day of Caring, we also provided relief funding to our partner agencies who saw an increased need for their services as well. Through this combined effort, we were able to secure $325,000 in CARES Act Funding thanks to the Mahoning County Commissioners Office. We invested this directly back into the community by serving more people with our food deliveries and increasing relief funding to our partner agencies. Our United Way also invested in a virtual volunteer center that will streamline opportunities available across the Valley. Click here to register as a volunteer!
Our work in the schools did not stop despite the buildings closing last spring. We quickly adapted our Success After 6 after school program to offer virtual programming. We worked closely with our partner school districts to distribute food and grocery store gift cards to students and families in need.
Several other donors continue to make a significant impact on the Success After 6 initiative by “adopting” a school. We want to thank the “Adopt-A-School” Champions – Gloria Jones and Fireline, Inc for adopting Martin Luther King Elementary School in honor of the late Roger Jones, Denise Debartolo-York and the Debartolo Corporation for adopting Williamson Elementary School, Huntington Bank for adopting McGuffey Elementary School, The Andrews Foundation for adopting Struthers Elementary School, Chris and Ed Muransky for adopting Youngstown Community School – and “Adopt-A-School” Partners – AIM Transportation Solutions and Farmers National Bank.
Our Success By 6 pre-kindergarten readiness program went virtual in 10 districts preparing 455 children to enter the classroom.
We also saw a 71% increase in our Dolly Parton Imagination Library registrations during the height of the pandemic from last year at the same time. Imagination Library sends free books once a month to children birth to age five living in Mahoning County.
We continue to fund 35 non-profit agencies. Due to Covid-19, we offered a one year funding cycle this year to maintain funding levels for these agencies. Many also received additional Covid-19 relief funding that helped them maintain and/ or provide additional services in response to the pandemic.
In 2020, our United Way also completed our renovations at 255 Watt Street. Our staff moved back into the building in February.
2020 Campaign Break Down
TOP 10 WORKPLACE
TOP 5 FOUNDATIONS
COVID-19 RESPONSE PARTNERS
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