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UNITED WAY TO HOST COMMUNITY FORUM UNVEILING NEW INITIATIVE

United Way of Hancock County will be hosting a community forum to announce the Financial Stability Initiative on October 10 at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts, 200 W. Main Cross St. Registration and refreshments will begin at 4:30 p.m. with the forum beginning promptly at 5:30 p.m. Attendees will learn about the initiative’s purpose, projected outcomes and impact on current and future funding opportunities. Area nonprofit representatives, corporate leaders, government officials and interested citizens are encouraged to attend. This free event is open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The new initiative will work to improve the financial stability for hundreds of Hancock County households. “United Way has been committed to bringing people and organizations together to find solutions that help people lead better lives and build a better community,” said John Urbanski, president and CEO of United Way of Hancock County. “This initiative is another step forward in this important work.”

United Way’s new Financial Stability Initiative will be guided by representatives from the nonprofit, government, business, finance, philanthropic, faith-based, and education sectors. The Financial Stability Initiative will support efforts to assist the unemployed, underemployed and currently unemployable people to develop the tools and strategies that will result in financial stability.

“We asked individuals seeking assistance from Hancock County food pantries this summer what one thing would help them and by far employment, full time employment and earning a living wage were the top answers,“ said Heather Heilman, community impact director at United Way. “Many of those seeking supplemental food are working one or two jobs, living paycheck to paycheck and are one event away from falling into severe poverty. Employment is one facet of financial stability but learning how to stretch limited resources and knowing what assistance is available to alleviate the impact of something unexpected is another facet.”

United Way will announce a new funding process as well as unveil the goals for the future. Financial Stability Initiative funds will be earmarked to support cooperative efforts that create a stronger web of financial stability for residents, help local financial stability programs serve more people more effectively and sustain financial stability. Funding will focus on organizations working together with a common agenda and shared metrics, leading to positive community results.

United Way Worldwide has extensively researched the best way to make social change happen. Tackling a common social challenge is the key focus as United Way of Hancock County evolves its business model. “Globally, United Way is in the business of creating social change. The days of us being simply a pass-through organization are in the past. We believe that the major challenges of financial stability cannot be addressed alone. United, we must work together to lift families out of poverty or near poverty,” said Urbanski.

Tim Mayle, economic development director with the Findlay Hancock County Alliance, said, “United Way’s strategic planning committees have been working on the new funding model for about three years. We are excited to be involved in this next step toward addressing root causes to poverty, lack of housing, lack of access to reliable transportation, mental illness and more. Countless times, we have been told by corporate leaders that we can’t keep coming back to them and their associates asking for donations without showing results.” Mayle is also a United Way board member and has been involved in the transition since its beginning stages in 2014.

Attendees are asked to register at http://liveunitedhancockcounty.org/forum or send an email to teresa.white@uwhancock.org or call 419-423-1432.