United Way of Allen County takes achievement and community impact seriously.
Going above and beyond for our community makes you a game-changer. It is our privilege to work, play, collaborate, and fight alongside you. Every year, United Way of Allen County honors local organizations that further their mission to boldly impact critical community issues.
We are proud to announce our 2021/2022 awardees are…
SPIRIT OF GIVING
BF Goodrich, USW Local 715
United Way of Allen County’s highest award is the Spirit of Giving Award, which recognizes a company that exemplifies what it means to LIVE UNITED. This company consistently gives back to the community it serves and fosters an environment of philanthropy within its organization.
BFGoodrich employees are represented by United Steel Workers Local 715. BFGoodrich and the United Way share the common goal of making a positive impact on local communities. The heart of BFGoodrich’s mission is to strengthen ties with communities where we live and work by thoughtfully using resources to make a meaningful and measurable impact.
OUTSTANDING CAUSE CAMPAIGN
Meijer was the premier sponsor for the 2nd annual community food drive, and the Meijer family began supporting United Way several decades ago when it was known as the United Fund. The strength of their relationship with United Way has only grown over the years as they have expanded their footprint.
Meijer’s purpose is to enrich the lives in the communities in which they serve. A fundamental part of that purpose is to give back to the communities where they do business. UWAC is one of the many organizations they support locally. Not only does Meijer support the United Way through their annual campaign with team members, but they also provide assistance in other ways throughout the communities in which they operate.
OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY IMPACT
Community Harvest Food Bank
Community Harvest has a long-time relationship with United Way, not only as a generous funding partner, but a collaborator for volunteer service days, a reputable local data repository, and so much more.
There are so many great organizations that work every day to improve lives, each of them making a positive impact on our community every day. In 2023, Community Harvest will be celebrating 40 years of operation and they are proud to be a pillar within the community when it comes to their hunger relief mission. Community Harvest pledges to continue to serve others in crisis with any resources they have available to fight hunger, collaborate with other mission-oriented organizations, and serve with dignity and respect for all.
United Way’s Day of Caring volunteer event celebrated its 3oth anniversary this year. Ron has been an integral part of this community-wide event since it’s first year in 1992. Ron has also received the Ian Rolland Lifetime Achievement Award and has worked with nonprofit agencies for four decades, keeping them compliant and taking care of their building maintenance needs.
SPIRIT OF COLLABORATION
The City of Fort Wayne - Community Development
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Fort Wayne’s Community Development Division realized that to best serve the needs of the community a strong partnership with United Way was going to be necessary. Identification of gaps in the service network and coordination of CARES Act resources was critical to ensure that they were not duplicating efforts and prioritizing work based on the highest needs.
United Way was a key partner in the efforts to establish the Eviction Diversion Initiative in Fort Wayne. Prior to COVID-19, Fort Wayne had one of the highest eviction rates in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the issue of housing instability. United Way and Community Development provided coordinated funding to establish a court-based program to provide case management and financial assistance to prevent evictions. These efforts have been very successful in keeping families housed and will continue to positively impact housing stability.
The regional Isolation Shelter was an effort created by United Way and several other agencies that serve the homeless to create a safe shelter for those with COVID-19 symptoms that did not have a place to quarantine. The project required local financial support and a lead agency to oversee the financial resources. The United Way and Community Development Division stepped up to help fill the gaps.
United Way of Allen County and the City of Fort Wayne Community Development Division share the same vision for Fort Wayne. The dedication of the United Way staff matches that of Community Development ensuring that the lives of the citizens of Fort Wayne are better and serve our most vulnerable populations. These tasks are too big for one agency to tackle alone.
OUTSTANDING NONPROFIT AGENCY
Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.
Greater Fort Wayne has enjoyed an extensive relationship with United Way. Their employees have supported United Way through payroll deductions for many years, their staff has served on committees together, and the two organizations have had several shared board members.
Greater Fort Wayne Inc. values United Way’s focus on building strong, equitable communities. They believe that public, private, and nonprofit partnerships are the key to building strong economic growth. They are proud to support an organization like United Way that makes such an important impact in our community.
OUTSTANDING SMALL ORGANIZATION
Asher has been involved with United Way for years through employee-based campaigns. They also are proud to have employees who volunteer with United Way and serve on the UWAC Board of Directors.
At the core of their agency philosophy, they strive to make our community a better place to live, and that is exactly what United Way of Allen County does. They believe the work United Way does is critical in supporting organizations which make our community stronger whether that’s in the areas of housing, food security, education, or mental health assistance. Asher Agency believes that as a local business, they are responsible for supporting United Way’s efforts here in Allen County.
OUTSTANDING MEDIUM ORGANIZATION
Franklin Electric has been a United Way partner for more than 34 years. They’ve seen this relationship grow and evolve – from their initial contribution in 1988 to the Wells County chapter through the Franklin Electric Charitable and Educational Foundation, to their efforts with the Allen County chapter today. In addition to providing a 50% match to all employee contributions, Franklin Electric’s United Way Committee works hard all year long to host events and unique activities that raise awareness and put the fun in fundraising. They also assure Franklin Electric is well represented at United Way events in the area. For example, since moving their corporate headquarters to Ft. Wayne in 2013, they have been able to provide dozens of volunteers at the annual Day of Caring event.
Franklin Electric’s motto is “Moving Water, Moving Fuel and Moving Forward.” Helping their communities move forward and become stronger is a priority. They also place a high value on supporting the causes that are important to Franklin Electric employees. The local focus of the Allen County chapter of the United Way allows them to give back to the communities where their employees not only work – but also raise their families.
OUTSTANDING LARGE ORGANIZATION
Do It Best Corp
Do It Best’s involvement with United Way goes back decades to their second CEO Don Wolf, who began building the relationship back in the 1970s. Don realized that giving through United Way was the most effective and efficient way to ensure the needs of the community were being met while delivering the greatest impact possible. Over the years, the Do it Best team has served on United Way ad hoc committees, advisory panels, and the Board of Directors.
United Way provides a streamlined approach to giving that ensures maximum impact in funding the programs and services that make Allen County a great place to live, work, and play. United Way’s mission fully complements the Do it Best philosophy of “Serving others as we would like to be served.”
Receiving this recognition shows that running a great campaign is a journey, not a destination. There are always opportunities to enhance it by providing compelling stories about the community’s needs and then demonstrating the impact it’s generated. Do It Best’s current campaign is very different from the ones Don Wolf led in the 70s as they find new ways to engage their team and show the value of their pledge. They are honored to have played a part in strengthening the quality of life in Northeast Indiana.