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United Way breaks record with Centennial Campaign

YOUNGSTOWN — United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley’s 2019 Centennial Campaign raised $3,454,454, exceeding its $3 million goal.

This is the largest amount of money in the Valley United Way’s history, breaking the record set in 1991 with $3,352,973.

Volunteerism is also on the rise with the United Way and its initiatives in the schools. In 2019, 1,800 people volunteered in the community. They participated in the annual Day of Caring, mentoring programs, tutoring programs, food pantries, Women United and Success After 6 after school classroom projects.

“Once people see firsthand the work we are doing, they are more likely to give financially. We appreciate the time our volunteers give on a daily or weekly basis, and are thankful when they turn into donors,” Bob Hannon, president of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, said. “We need both donations of time and money to make a true impact.”

The local United Way funds 51 programs run by 35 nonprofit agencies that work in education and emergency services.

Officials on Monday at the Lake Club in Poland noted the organization’s 100th anniversary celebration, and thanked its centennial presenting sponsors and donors.

“Our history of serving those in need is rooted deep here in our Valley. We are amazed at the generosity of our donors and volunteers, They honored those who came before us and those who will come after us by raising more than $3.4 million,” Hannon said.

The organization spent 2019 honoring its past and the 11 founding fathers. Their original mission was “to promote the general welfare of the community of Youngstown, Ohio, and vicinity, and for such purpose to receive, use and disburse money and other property either directly or through others.”

Asael E. Adam chaired the very first campaign and raised $328,234 in 1919. Since then, there have been five executive directors / presidents with Hannon being the sixth, 31 board chairs, and 104 campaign chairs raising more than $168 million for the Mahoning Valley.

The United Way announced its 2019 Centennial Campaign results alongside four Centennial Celebration presenting sponsors who served as campaign chairs — Greenwood Chevrolet, PNC Bank, The Muransky Companies and Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC. The presenting sponsors raised $100,000 to help with the public awareness campaign for the 100th anniversary.

“We are thankful for our four presenting sponsors. They stepped up in a big way to allow us to celebrate 100 years of making generations of impact,” Hannon said. “With their generosity we were able to get our message out to more than our loyal donors.”

The Frank And Pearl Gelbman Charitable Foundation matched any new or increased donation to the United Way in honor of its century of work in the community. Special events throughout the year also contributed to the campaign, especially the Centennial Champions: A Black Tie Affair Gala that raised a record-breaking $320,000.

As the United Way looks to the future, it invited students from Youngstown Community School’s Success After 6 initiative to join the United Way for the announcement. Success After 6 provides wraparound services, including an after-school program, to students at 14 schools in six districts: Campbell, Girard, Liberty, Struthers, Youngstown City Schools and Youngstown Community School.

The United Way’s building at 255 Watt St. in Youngstown is currently under renovation. It plans to announce the results of a capital campaign at an open house this spring.

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