Wednesday, August 31, 2011

United Way of Allen County Leaders Challenge Community: Raise Giving to Indiana's State Average

United Way of Allen County leaders gathered in downtown Fort Wayne at an Early Childhood Alliance facility to challenge the community to increase giving to a level that would bring the organization’s fundraising in line with the state average. At a news conference and tour of several Agency Partners, volunteer Campaign Chair Steve Smith announced the goal of $5,339,823. This is approximately nine percent greater than what the community pledged during the 2010-11 campaign, which totaled $4.9 million.
“Allen County’s per capita giving is currently $13.79, but the average for all Indiana communities with United Ways is $15.03,” said Steve Smith, general manager and CEO of Allied Health Physicians and United Way’s campaign chair. “Residents in similar Indiana communities are inspired to support their United Ways at a higher level, and I know we can do at least the same here in Allen County.”

Donations to United Way of Allen County support more than 60 local social service programs and initiatives and 34 local partner agencies. Funded services fall into three categories: Basic Needs, Success in School and Family Stability. The services are provided for people in need and include everything from child care to health care, from counseling to scouting, and from literacy instruction to shelter for the homeless. The funds are allocated by volunteers who carefully examine each program and its results.

Smith and Stephenson were joined by dozens of United Way volunteers and representatives of partner agencies. The group visited the Early Childhood Alliance, Vincent Village and the 2-1-1 Call Center. Participants were transported in Community Transportation Network vehicles.

“The tour demonstrates how United Way works throughout the community, not in just one service area,” said Stephenson. “United Way supports programs that help people get through an immediate crisis, such as homelessness, and also funds programming, such as preparation for the GED, that assists people in becoming self-sufficient. In this way, United Way improves life for all local residents by building a stronger Allen County.”

“Over the past few years, we’ve been steadily increasing the number of our Ambassadors,” said Chris Rouse, resource development director for United Way. “Thanks to Steve Smith and our Campaign Cabinet, we’ve increased our numbers from about 30 to approximately 130 Ambassadors who visit local business leaders to encourage support for United Way of Allen County. I’m confident these motivated volunteers will help us spread the word about the importance of United Way.”

Anyone wanting to contribute to United Way’s Campaign can give online at or call 260.422.4776 and ask for the staff accountant.