By Dan LaVallee, director of government and business relations, government programs, UPMC Health Plan, and chair, Butler Local Operating Board, United Way of Southwestern PA
I am convinced that when a team of people join together, great things can happen. Whether that is a group of colleagues brainstorming a new project; the Pittsburgh Steelers working hard to master a new play; or maybe local organizations coming together to make impactful, meaningful change – when people work together, it makes a difference.
At United Ways around the world, there is a focus on working together with community partners, agencies and corporations to make an impactful difference in people’s lives. At United Way of Southwestern PA, we share this commitment.
United Way of Butler County approached United Way of Southwestern PA about merging together late last year. We saw the change and impact we could have in each of our local communities across the region if we joined forces, shared resources, and worked together.
United Way of Butler County officially became part of United Way of Southwestern PA this April. Since then, we’ve expanded partnerships with the business community in Butler to focus on meeting the significant needs in the community.
We are particularly excited about immediately implementing successful programs that were already in place at United Way of Southwestern PA. Our partnership is delivering immediate and positive change that will help our Butler County residents thrive:
- Kids received literary kits from PNC. United Way’s 100,000 Books campaign has expanded into Butler County, with support from PNC Grow up Great®. 100,000 Books will provide more than 700 Butler County children with literacy kits, which include a book and other educational materials to promote learning and reading outside of the classroom.
- Butler County kids will attend United Way’s Build-a-Bike. Leaders from across the region will work hand-in-hand with local kids to help them build their very own bike at Heinz Field. Participating youth will take their bikes home with them, encouraging them to stay active and healthy throughout the summer.
- We have strengthened PA 2-1-1 Southwest. Because of 2-1-1’s reach across the region, we’re able to explore how to better leverage the vital resources it provides, such as potentially conducting a region-wide on-time school registration push or coordinating summer food programs for children.
- We are working to engage more local volunteers in Butler County. United Way of Southwestern PA offers engaging volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Our merger will create even more opportunities for volunteers to join us in serving the residents of Butler County.
- Local women are getting more involved with the Women’s Leadership Council. There are now over 20 Butler County women involved with United Way’s WLC. The council offers opportunities for women to network with other local business women and community leaders; become informed on community issues, agencies and programs receiving United Way support; and take on different leadership roles at United Way to address our community’s most critical needs. Butler’s WLC will be able to collaborate with WLCs in Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties, leveraging the experience and engagement of one of the largest WLCs in the United States.
This is just the beginning. We will continue to share resources, ideas, programs, and partnerships to make our region as strong as it can be, while expanding local engagement of volunteers, donors, corporations and community leaders to solve local problems through local agency partners.
In these times, there are many needs that must be addressed. We are united together to serve those in need and make our region the best it can be.