United Way In Delaware County IN still a big deal

Local effort raised $1.5 million in 2013

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - Even in transition, the United Way of Delaware County raised $1.5 million in 2013 and reached out to thousands that are served by 120 non-profit organizations in the community.

Jenni Marsh, UW president and CEO, reported that huge ripple through Muncie with volunteerism and giving to more than 100 people who attended the group's annual lunch Thursday at the Ball State Alumni Center.

Besides moving to new offices at 400 N. High St., the United Way also was led by a new director, Marsh, who brought in a new staff including Jim Flatford, and Angie Poe, besides longtime labor liaison Michael Brown and set out to raise money and awareness for those in need.

The result was the investment of $1,1 million invested into the 120 non-profit groups like Buley, Huffer, Hillcroft, Open Door, YMCA and YWCA to reach adults and youths, 12,416 to be exact and help with education, income, and health.

Some of the programs Marsh mentioned were a book club at Longfellow Elementary School that helped raising iRead scores and improved reading levels of third grade students to 78 percent from a 54 percent pass rate.

The United Way also helped fund a volunteer income tax assistance program that helped 258 people in need and saved them more than $64,500.

Marsh also recognized volunteers for their good work. The Muncie Fire Department received the labor award for its volunteerism and giving with raising money for Toys for Tots and Special Olympics besides helping save lives and property.

And banker Chris Caldwell received the volunteer award for his work chairing the 2013 campaign.

The base of the United Way is footed in 106 workplace campaigns, 56 corporate gifts and 4,255 total donors.

While labor at the old Warner and Chevrolet plants were the means of the United Way years ago, institutions like banks, utilities, Ball State and IU Health have stepped up and continued the community effort.

The 2014 campaign will be led by labor with Kevin Cope, business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 855, taking over as board chairman.

Cope has been involved in United Way for years and it is the first time in a decade that labor has chaired the United Way.

"United Way is still a big deal in this community," said Cope, who represents 180 electricians in Local 855

Cope predicted an exciting year with the group day of action coming in September along with its Labor Day picnic with AFL-CIO.

Look for United Way events and action at www.invitedtoliveunited.org.