United Way groups merge in Mid-Ohio Valley

PARKERSBURG — The United Way Alliance of The Mid-Ohio Valley is joining forces with the United Way of Washington County.

While the official date for the United Way of Washington County to become a part of the Alliance is Jan. 1, 2018, collaboration is already underway to combine operations.

The United Way Alliance serves eight counties in West Virginia and part of Washington and Athens counties. The collaboration will expand the alliance to include all of Washington County.

Stacy DeCicco, executive director with UWAMOV, will lead a transition committee through the process. The transition committee is made up of members of the UWAMOV board as well as board members from the UWWC.

DeCicco said the decision to have the Washington County organization join the Alliance follows several months of discussions between both groups’ boards of directors.

“We have sought the input of stakeholders and community members and feel confident that this is a well-timed decision that will maximize impact in the Mid-Ohio Valley. It will increase our operational efficiency, ultimately resulting in more streamlined and integrated programs that improve lives and strengthen our community,” she said.

“This move also offers a richer donor experience for all of our corporate partners. Workplace Partners will now work with one United Way agency to support the entire Mid-Ohio Valley community,” DeCicco said. “It also simplifies the funding process for the agencies that we support. Previously, partners shared between the two United Ways had interacted separately with both United Ways. By becoming one, we now offer a seamless experience for those donors.”

Tony Dunn, superintendent of Belpre City Schools, serves as the board chair for UWAMOV.

“I am extremely pleased to have the United Way of Washington County join the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley. This will allow us to coordinate our efforts in Washington County and will absolutely result in better services for our communities,” he said.

Jeff Welch has been involved with Washington County United Way for over 30 years.

“Joining the Alliance is a tremendous opportunity for our organization to expand its reach throughout Washington County,” Welch said. “The needs in Washington County are great and the resources available through the Alliance give us the opportunity to help so many more people. That’s what United Way is all about, providing assistance to those in need. The future is bright for the people and agencies served by the United Way.”

“This merger is a wonderful opportunity for our community to reach its highest and best good in our fundraising efforts as a united front. We can all Live United,” said Melissa Schafer, president of the Washington County board.

DeCicco said the transition committee has received support and guidance from the Ohio United Way and United Way Worldwide. They have also reached out on a local level to Non Profits LEAD at Marietta College for input as they navigate the transition, she added.

“Amy Elliot at Non Profits LEAD is a wealth of information and truly just terrific support. She has been a great sounding board for governance and procedural questions,” DeCicco said.

DeCicco’s team is already working with those agencies funded under the UWWC umbrella. Those agencies will simply become a part of the United Way Alliance family for 2018. They will then have the opportunity, just like all of the agencies in the community, to apply for the next year’s funding allocations. It is a competitive annual process to receive United Way funding; it is a process that UW officials say helps to build capacity for organizations and strengthen their mission driven work.

“We provide tremendous support to our agencies. We strive to be more than just a funding source, we want to be a resource, an ally and a partner,” said DeCicco. “We ultimately want what is best for the community.”

Dick Wittberg, Washington County health commissioner, has served previously on the UWAMOV Board of Directors and currently is on the UWWC Board. He is adamant about the benefits of the collaboration.

“We are very excited about joining forces with the United Way Alliance. We believe this will lead to better support for our local organizations who do such great work improving the well being of Washington County residents,” Wittberg said.

The United Way Alliance will be hiring two additional staff to balance the workload of the expanded operations. While the main hub of operations will remain at 935 Market St., in Parkersburg, the organization is exploring avenues to have a satellite location within the Marietta community.

“We are also exploring some collaborative projects with Marietta College that will be of a tremendous mutual benefit to our agency as well as the college,” DeCicco said. “Marietta College has such a vibrant student population and an innovative, forward thinking faculty. There are endless possibilities for collaboration between us. We are very excited about that opportunity,” she said.

“The decision by United Way of Washington County to merge their operations with the Alliance will allow more powerful responses to pressing community issues that are market-driven rather than geography-driven. The challenges facing our communities do not recognize city boundaries or county lines,” she said.


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