United Way Celebrating 65 Years In Our Community
The United Way of Guernsey & Noble Counties is celebrating a milestone this year as it celebrates 65 years in the community. The United Way of Guernsey & Noble Counties was founded on August 31, 1946 and was incorporated in the same year under the name of Community Chest. In 1955, the name changed to United Fund of Guernsey County, Inc., with a name change to the United Way of Guernsey County in 1985; and in 1994, the name expanded to United Way of Guernsey & Noble Counties, Inc. under which it still operates.
The United Way is a system of voluntary fundraising, allocating, and planning services for individuals in Guernsey and Noble counties. The purpose of the United Way is to use funds pledged to the annual campaign and distribute them to affiliated agencies to make our non-profit system as efficient, effective and relevant as possible in resolving basic social and health problems. In fulfilling this purpose, United Way has an obligation to be sensitive and responsive to changing conditions, attitudes, needs, and demands relating to the primary objective of the organizations…to bring a better quality of life to people in Guernsey and Noble Counties.
“This is a big year for us,” said Mike Humphrey, executive director of the United Way. “We are celebrating 65 years of service to the community, and we have some plans and ideas on how we are going to impact the community. We are looking to have our annual campaign again, of course, but we also plan on continuing our efforts to provide services to those in need throughout the community.”
Each United Way is independent and locally operated, and is governed by a Board of Directors that is comprised of local business and community leaders. Penny Parnell, of Parnell and Associates, Inc. just assumed the Board of Trustee Presidency, taking the gavel from current Past President Jessica Canfield, of JLC Accounting Services, LLC. Ivan Cardona, Human Resources Director at Detroit Diesel, is the Vice President, and Kari Hitzel of W.B. Green is the Treasurer. United Way staff consists of Mike Humphrey, Director and Tammy Neff, Administrative Assistant. Various other board members, as well as some community members, head up the committees and subcommittees which make the United Waywork. It is a charitable 501(c) 3 organization, which means that any donations are tax deductible.
“Volunteers make United Way work,” said Humphrey. “Without them, this would never happen. From the Board members, to the committee members, to the people who donate money and items, we are all focused on one goal, and that is making Guernsey County a better place to live and raise a family.”
United Way was organized to assist in annual fund raising for local agencies to provide services to our community. The fields of service are children and youth; older people; diversity; self-sufficiency; and health and healing. United Way provides funds to 18 agencies in the two-county area, and to the United Service Organization in Washington,D.C. as a support for our local men and women serving in the military.
“Everyone in our counties benefits from contributions to the United Way”, said Humphrey. “Practically all of the money collected through our annual campaign is used to meet local needs through local organizations. Close to half the population of Guernseyand Noble counties have received some type of assistance through the United Way Affiliated agencies.”
The United Way of Guernsey and Noble Counties serves the following agencies: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Guernsey County Cancer Society, Haven of Hope, Hospice of Guernsey, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Guernsey County Senior Citizens Center, Lutheran Social Services, Guernsey Noble Underwater Rescue, USO, YMCA, Noble County Health Department, and the Joyce Davis Senior Center, and the following communities: Byesville, Cumberland, Lore City and Senecaville.
United Way agencies apply every year for funds. Each year agencies complete an application for funding which allows the applying agency to tell what the money awarded will be used for. All agencies are welcome to apply for funding, including those which have never been funded. All applying agencies must meet the requirements of the United Way, which includes being a 501c3 tax exempt agency, having a local board of directors, and must also meet one of the fields of service.
“One thing that I find amazing is that over the last 10 years, United Way has allocated approximately $1.5 million in total to our local agencies for them to assist the people of Guernsey and Noble Counties,” said Humphrey. “That money came from right here in the community and it stayed in the community to help those in need.”