United Way boosts program funding

United Way of Delaware and Henry Counties is increasing its funding of Delaware County programs by 15 percent thanks to its successful campaigns the last two years, and new programs that focus on improving grade-level reading and programs that address barriers toward that goal, according to a release.

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Since 2014, United Way has invested half its dollars in Delaware County toward educational programs to address the its primary goal of ending generational poverty.

“We have a very precise goal and we are delighted to be able to support programs that move us closer to achieving that goal through this incredibly competitive grant-making process,” Jenni Marsh, president and CEO of United Way of Delaware and Henry Counties, said in the release. 

The new two-year funding cycle earmarks just over $800,000 to fund 28 programs in 23 Delaware County organizations.

United Way of Delaware and Henry Counties is strategically investing in organizations that have programming to address these key community touchpoints: 

  • Children are born healthy and ready for kindergarten.

  • There is out-of-school learning support community-wide.

  • Young people reach graduation and post-secondary experiences.

  • The community is filled with thriving individuals and families.

  • People are living healthy, independent lives.

  • Safety net services address and prevent traumatic childhood experiences.

In addition, UWDHC is providing more scholarships this round — up 21 percent — to families to send their children to high-quality childcare centers. “This increase represents the largest increase for a single objective,” Marsh said.

New to United Way this year is funding for:

  • Forward S.T.E.P.S., a program at Second Harvest Food Bank that provides holistic support for struggling working families to become financially stable.

  • Inside/Out’s Fresh Directions program, which provides the community’s most vulnerable populations with nutritious meals and snacks through out-of-school programs.

  • Court Appointed Special Advocates’ Family Recovery Court program, which helps parents with drug-related charges overcome barriers and be reunited with their children.


In addition to funding 28 programs run by local nonprofits, the local United Way is running its own direct service programs to ensure all third-graders will be reading at grade level. Summer Book Give Away, Reading Clubs, Read United and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are a few of the programs run by United Way staff

 In addition to providing $801,830 to local nonprofits, UWDHC will spend almost $400,000 addressing gaps in grade-level reading support, as well as supporting the development of Delaware County’s nonprofits and the community’s access to them. UWDHC also is granting more than $125,000 in donor-designated gifts to specified nonprofits throughout the community, the release stated.

To conquer generational poverty, UWDHC has adopted the goal that by 2024 all Delaware County third-graders will be reading at grade level. United Way in Delaware County has raised nearly $3 million over the last two years. Each of the campaigns in 2017 and 2018 surpassed its goal.