United Way of Lorain County Announces UCAN Community Collaborative

United Way Lorain CountyLorain, OH – United Way of Greater Lorain County announced today that it will launch a county-wide emergency financial assistance community collaborative that will include ten partners.

The United Community Assistance Network (UCAN) will work to assure that all residents of Greater Lorain County have year-round access to emergency financial assistance for rent, utilities, or other emergency basic needs. Each zip code within Greater Lorain County will be strategically covered by a collaborative partner at a single site geographically located within each community. The client-driven approach includes case management, benefits screening, and access to additional emergency resources.

In addition to United Way of Greater Lorain County, UCAN collaborative partners include Catholic Charities, Lorain County Office on Aging, Neighborhood Alliance, North Ridgeville Community Care, Oberlin Community Services and the Salvation Army (Elyria, Lorain, Oberlin and Vermilion).

Through this collaborative, UCAN’s partners will utilize a common intake system, so when an individual fills out a form at one agency, they’re automatically in the system at the others in case a future need arises. UCAN will also allow for shared resources so that there can be a central pool of emergency assistance funds available to all partners. If an individual or family in crisis stops into one of the partners and needs more assistance than that agency can provide with their own resources, the case manager can access the shared resources to get the client the additional assistance that is needed.

This new system will make it possible for everyone who needs help to receive the appropriate assistance at the point of contact, and the presence of a case manager will help return the individual or family to financial stability.

“Maybe the most exciting part of this collaborative has been seeing all of the different agencies and programs across the county realize that together, we can make much more of an impact and see a greater change than any of us could by attempting to tackle this huge challenge on our own,” said United Way of Greater Lorain County executive director Bill Harper. “UCAN’s partners will continue to honor their time-tested missions and guidelines, but this collaborative will have them work together collectively for the good of Greater Lorain County.”

The announcement was made during United Way of Greater Lorain County’s Annual Campaign Finale and Celebration at Lorain County Community College’s Spitzer Conference Center.

During the event, United Way of Greater Lorain County revealed that they have reached a milestone this year by raising $3,051,400. This is the first time in ten years that the campaign has surpassed $3M and the highest single-year total in 11 years. The total also marks a six percent increase over last year’s campaign.

“This is an exciting time for United Way of Greater Lorain County. We promise to utilize these investments to create positive changes in the community, starting with UCAN,” said Harper. “We know that we can’t make this change alone and we are so thankful to our loyal supporters to help us make such an enormous impact in Greater Lorain County.”

The program also highlighted the great achievements of the organizations across the county for their participation in the United Way of Greater Lorain County annual campaign.  Awards were presented in five different categories: Live United, Community Partnership, Impact, Pillar and Pinnacle.

The Live United Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a local company and its employees. It recognizes exemplary corporate leadership, dedication and community involvement that betters lives throughout Lorain County. The recipient was PolyOne Corporation, which became the first company in the 97-year history of United Way of Greater Lorain County to raise more than $1M in a single campaign.

The Community Partnership Award acknowledges companies whose United Way activities have resulted in a positive impact on the quality of life in Lorain County. Honored with the award was United We Sweat, a county-wide fitness promotion designed to promote exercise and healthier lifestyles to Lorain County residents through a series of free fitness classes and events. United We Sweat partners include University Hospitals Avon Health Center, Lorain County Community College, Lorain County General Health District, Lorain County Metro Parks and the French Creek and Vermilion Family YMCA’s.

The Impact Award recognizes not only dollar contributions, but also employee support and participation specific to United Way’s impact areas. The recipient was Lorain County Community College.

The Pillar Award acknowledges the organization with the largest percentage increase in employee participation. The five recipients were: Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems (500 or more employees), Lorain County Community College (250 to 499 employees), Bettcher Industries (100 to 249 employees), Best Buy, Store # 1050 in Avon (50 to 99 employees) and KeyBank, Lorain County Branches (49 employees or less).

The Pinnacle Award recognizes the high degree of support that an organization and its employees exhibit for the United Way’s mission. It also acknowledges the spirit and dedication exemplified in their fundraising activities. The five recipients were: PolyOne Corporation (500 or more employees), Lorain County Community College (250 to 499 employees), Macy’s Systems & Technology (100 to 249 employees), UPS (50 to 99 employees), and the Community Foundation of Lorain County (49 employees or less).

More information on the United Community Assistance Network and United Way of Greater Lorain County can be found at www.uwloraincounty.org or by calling 440-277-6530.


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