United Way gives record $1 million to local non-profits

The board of directors of the United Way of Southern Chester County gather in Kennett Square following its annual meeting at which it was announced $1 million will be distributed to local non-profits.

By Fran Maye

fmaye@21st-centurymedia.com

The United Way of Southern Chester County will distribute more than $1 million to scores of local non-profit agencies. It is the first time the organization has reached the $1 million allocation mark.

“We are incredibly thrilled,” said Carrie Freeman, executive director of United Way of Southern Chester County. “It’s the first time we’ve ever given away $1 million in allocations.”

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More than 110,000 people living in southern Chester County benefit from United Way allocations in some way.

The money will be available to 31 local health and human service agencies beginning this fall. The top three beneficiaries are Kennett Area Communtiy Services, which will receive $103,000, LaComunidad Hispana, which will get $85,020, and the Garage Community Youth Center in Kennett Square, which will get $68,000.

“The $1 million mark has been a goal for our board for many years,” said Ed Sparks, campaign chairman at last week’s annual meeting held in Kennett Square. “This year we finally hit the mark. It makes all of us proud to be a part of such a generous community.”

A full 44 percent of the $1 million (or $440,080) will go to local crisis intervention programs like Domestic Violence Center of Chester County, 27 percent will go to programs promoting stability and sustainability such as Maternal and Child Health Consortium, and 27 percent will go to agencies that provide independence through education programs, such as the Adult Literacy Program at Bayard Taylor Library in Kennett Square.

Most users, Freeman said, designate their contribution to support the Community Impact Fund. The Fund provides critical support for agencies serving residents living in the four school districts of Avon Grove, Kennett, Oxford and Unionville-Chadds Ford.

An additional $22,000 was designated to specific agencies at donors’ requests. Another $56,000 raised will support United Way programs such as Information & Referral, mentoring of local nonprofits through free workshops and one-on-one assistance, and in-house programs like LIFT, which provides one-on-one mentoring for individuals and families seeking help with learning to budget.

To date 1,840 donors have contributed to UWSCC’s annual campaign, an increase of nearly 13% over the same period last year.

“We got more than 150 new donors last year,” Freeman said. “A major goal of ours is to spread the word about what we do for the community.”

For some local non-profits, like LaComunidad Hispana or Tick Tock Early Learning Center, United Way is the largest source of income.

“We are the largest funder for many community organizations,” Freeman said. “Every penny we get stays right here in the community.”

The campaign doesn’t end until August, and the United Way of Southern Chester County has set as $1.35 million as its goal. Donations can be sent to: United Way of Southern Chester County, 106 West State St., Kennett Square, PA 19348 or donate online at www.unitedwayscc.org. UWSCC welcomes donations large or small.