Press Release

United Way Of Allen County Announces New Strong Neighborhoods Initiative In Southeast Fort Wayne

Dec 2, 2021

FORT WAYNE, IND. (December 1, 2021) – United Way of Allen County is excited to announce the launch of a new initiative called Strong Neighborhoods. This new initiative will focus on creating collaborations and building resources at a neighborhood level. United Way is partnering with Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries and the Pettit-Rudisill Neighborhood Association to pilot this new initiative in the Pettit-Rudisill neighborhood.

“We are grateful that United Way of Allen County has chosen our neighborhood for their Strong Neighborhoods initiative, and we are excited about the prospect of connecting with our residents more effectively,” says Laurie Hapner, Board Member of the Pettit-Rudisill Neighborhood Association.

Through Strong Neighborhoods, United Way will strive to build relationships and collaborate with residents, utilize individuals’ strengths and talents to help neighbors, convene available community assets, identify potential growth opportunities, and remove barriers for people to improve the overall well-being of themselves and their community.

Javier Mondragon, Founder & CEO of Bridge of Grace, states “we are excited to partner with United Way and the Pettit-Rudisill neighborhood to share our knowledge, lived experience, and work together to gather the strengths and voices of residents so they may gain ownership and participate in the revitalization of their own community.”

Healthy neighborhoods are the backbone of a thriving community. A strong community is made up of residents who actively participate and are a key part of the decision and implementation process of change and development occurring in their own neighborhoods, which is what Strong Neighborhoods is working to do.

In 2016 United Way of Allen County conducted Community Conversations and heard from over 500 area residents. There was a resounding confirmation that people in Allen County wanted to live in safe neighborhoods that foster a healthy lifestyle and a sense of belonging, where they can feel connected to each other and the resources in their community. We conducted another round of Community Conversations in 2020 and the message continued to ring clear – Allen County residents want to live in a community where they have a sense of belonging and feel safe, connected, and accepted.

“United Way of Allen County exists to boldly impact critical community issues. Strong Neighborhoods allows us to tackle community issues at a grassroots level” explains Matthew Purkey, President & CEO of United Way of Allen County.

“We will strategically and intentionally address issues identified by the neighborhood residents and look for opportunities that could align with our four priority areas of educational opportunities, food security, housing stability, and mental health access,” he continues. Ultimately, it is about connecting people to each other and their community.

For more information please contact Ruthie Hall, Director of Community Initiatives, at