United Way funding grants vital to local charitable groups, officials say

The Liberty Twp. Edge Teen Center, near Lakota East High School, is one of dozens of area assistance programs receiving new Butler County United Way Funding, say officials with that group. More than $618,000 in funding from the Butler County United Way will be making its way to dozens of community children and adult-focused aid programs, officials recently announced. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)
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The Liberty Twp. Edge Teen Center, near Lakota East High School, is one of dozens of area assistance programs receiving new Butler County United Way Funding, say officials with that group. More than $618,000 in funding from the Butler County United Way will be making its way to dozens of community children and adult-focused aid programs, officials recently announced. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

More than $618,000 in funding from the Butler County United Way will be making its way to dozens of community children and adult-focused aid programs throughout the area, officials recently announced.

The funding, which is for the local United Way’s 2021-2022 funding cycle, were based on requests from area charitable organizations and is designed to improve the quality of life for all county residents, especially those in need, according a statement released by officials.

“Volunteers from various industries and communities in Butler County served on impact committees where they invested their time and energy into reviewing this year’s proposals for funding. Award decisions were based on the quality of the proposals and their alignment with Butler County United Way’s vision and mission,” officials said.

“Over the next year, Butler County United Way will provide funding for agencies and programs that will support one of the three major focuses of education, financial stability, and healthy lives.”

Officials at the EDGE Teen Center in Liberty Twp. — across the street from the Lakota East High School campus — said they are grateful for the United Way funding for its many after-school study programs and services.

“These funds are vital at EDGE Teen Center. We do not receive funding through service contracts or any national organization. And we are able to provide services to local teens through the generous support organizations like United Way. Without this support, there would be gaps in services that are so important for our teens,” said Sara Gabbard, executive director of the center.

Joe Markiewicz, consulting director of the non-profit Fairfield Prevention Coalition, said the nearly $10,000 from United Way is a vital portion of his anti-drug agency’s annual $100,000 budget.

“If we don’t get a little bit of help here and there, and United Way is a big part of that, then we don’t continue forward,” said Markiewicz.

“If we didn’t have it (funding) it would cut some of our billboard campaigns we want to do and it would cut the amount of time we can spend in the schools if we didn’t have that United Way money,” he said.

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United Way officials said several special collaborations were awarded $101,000 in funding for their multiple programs supporting all three pillars of education, financial stability, and healthy lives.

These include the Booker T. Washington Community Center Collaboration received $32,000 in funding through the lead agency, Great Miami Valley YMCA, as well as other partners including Boys & Girls Club of Hamilton, the City of Hamilton, The Fitton Center for Creative Arts, and Miami University Hamilton and Oxford Campuses.

The funding is all the more important during a global pandemic, said Gabbard.

“We have seen an increase need for academic support as students recover from the challenges of the pandemic. These funds allow us a place, time and the ability to provide academic support to students so they can successful both in high school and as they plan for their futures after graduation.”

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