2023 Campaign Announcement

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21 Feb, 2024

United Way Breaks Annual Campaign Record – Over $3.7 Million Raised.

(Youngstown, OH) – Breaking down the barriers students and their families face every day is the driving force behind the work of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. This is paying off in big ways as our donors responded generously to help break another campaign record. We were joined by our Campaign Co-Chairs Eric and Bethany Carlson at Austintown Fitch High School’s Care Closet to announce the 2023 results – $3,742,311.

Eric and Bethany Carlso, 2023 Campaign Chairs

“We are once again humbled and amazed by what the Mahoning Valley can do to help those most vulnerable. Every year we know we have an incredible task ahead of us, to raise money for our United Way-led programs as well as our non-profit partners, and our donors step up in big ways,” said Bob Hannon, President of The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. “The last few years our campaign chairs have truly understood their assignment and set to work to raise more than the previous year. Eric and Bethany Carlson did that again for the 2023 campaign.”

All the money raised stays here in the Mahoning Valley to fund programming in Early Education and Emergency Services. Our United Way serves as the backbone organization in the community. Each year, in partnership with our non-profit agencies, we impact more than 200,000 people. Through our United Way-led programs, we focus on students and families in need throughout the Valley.

Despite inflation and an uncertain economy, we broke our record for the third year in a row exceeding $3.7 million for the first time in our United Way’s 105-year history. Our Annual Campaign includes workplace giving, corporate gifts, grants, and foundations. But over the last decade, our United Way has focused on diversifying funding sources, and in 2023 we brought in $1.5 million in 21st Century and ESSER Grant funding for our early education programs. Both grants are through the federal government and are directed toward after-school programming and wraparound services.

Eric and Bethany Carlson served as the 2023 Campaign Co-Chairs. Eric is the president of “Joe” Dickey Electric and a United Way Board Member. Bethany is an Education Consultant who has been involved with United Way Education Programming including Success By 6 and Success After 6 during her tenure at Austintown, Struthers, and South Range School Districts.

“We were honored when United Way approached us to Co-chair the campaign, and we knew we wanted to break the record just like our predecessors because we know how important United Way’s work is to the community,” said Eric and Bethany Carlson. “We can see the direct impact of your generosity in helping our students, their families, and our seniors in need. We want to sincerely thank all of you who helped us make 2023 such a great success.”

The Carlsons helped United Way raise more than $3 million through the annual campaign for eight straight years. Eric is also the chair of the Volunteer Resource Center Committee, a 12,000-square-foot building expansion on Market Street in Boardman that is set to open this summer.

Centofanti Volunteer Resource Center

“Having a front-row seat to see how dedicated the Valley is through the growing volunteer base, it’s absolutely incredible to witness,” said the Carlsons. “We are proud to see how the United Way is transforming to not only meet the needs of most vulnerable neighbors but to engage people of all ages to give their time.”

United Way’s main offices will remain in downtown Youngstown, but this new building will allow various programs to grow and enable us to engage more volunteers. We attribute much of our fundraising success to our ability to evolve to meet the current needs of the Valley.

One of the ways we have done this is through our Care Closets, which are resource pantries within the schools that aim to make the school day easier for the child. We oversee 12 Care Closets in three school districts – Youngstown, Boardman, and Austintown – that serve more than 4,500 students daily. Each closet is tailored to the school’s needs and contains food, clothing, shoes, hygiene kits, cleaning supplies, bedding, school supplies, and so much more.

Austintown School’s Care Closet

“The Care Closets have been visited more than 18,000 times during the first 6 months of this school year alone,” said Hannon. “Our goal is to meet the child needs so they can have success in the classroom.”

Our Success By 6 and Success After 6 initiatives provide pre-kindergarten readiness programs and wraparound services to all 19 school districts in Mahoning County including Girard, Liberty, and Hubbard in Trumbull County. We prepared 735 students to enter school in the summer of 2023, and distributed free books from birth to age five to 7,200 children.

Success By 6 Student

Under our Success After 6 initiative, the grant funding from 21st Century and ESSER, a designated amount of money from the federal government to help with learning loss experienced during Covid, allows us to host 8 afterschool programs at 8 school districts. We received a new 21st Century Grant for the 23/24 school year for Boardman Center Intermediate School.

Success After 6 Students, Austintown

We also bring in mentors to 7 other schools in the Valley throughout the school year. Our Report Card Mentoring program is now in 3 schools in which mentors meet with students throughout the school year to review their grades, attendance, and behavior. The Young Women’s Mentorship program meets weekly or monthly with 5th – 8th grade girls to focus on self-esteem and social-emotional skills.

In partnership with the Muransky Family, Saturday of Caring grew to serve 465 households throughout Mahoning County. More than 150 volunteers gather every third Saturday of the month to unload, pack, and deliver food to seniors, shut-ins, and families unable to get out of their homes. From this initiative, our volunteer base expanded dramatically.

Saturday of Caring Volunteers