The United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties, Inc. announced today that it will begin serving Franklin County. “This change will give our United Way a regional scope, which we think makes a lot of sense for our friends and neighbors throughout the North Country”, said John Bernardi, Executive Director of UWCE, Inc.
In September of this year, United Way Worldwide requested that the United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties, Inc. include Franklin County in its service area. The Board of Directors ultimately decided to honor the request and the organization will modify its name to reflect the addition of Franklin County and is also exploring additional office presence to facilitate a regional approach to services and programs in all three counties.
Karen Carre, Board President of the former United Way of Franklin County is supportive of the change. She said, “The people in Franklin County are very generous and a regional approach to the United Way system will be more sustainable. Our organization will undergo a corporate name change and re-emerge as “The Good Neighbor”, allowing for the continuation of collaborative efforts to improve the quality of life in our region. We anticipate working closely with United Way and other programs and organizations across the North Country”.
Officials and volunteers from the United Way of Clinton & Essex are currently developing strategies to expand into Franklin and to bring the three counties together through a United Way network of programs, services and partnerships. Bernardi said that the North Country 2-1-1 information and referral system is an excellent example of this and his steering committee is comprised of representatives from throughout the region. “Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties make up a natural region and we are connected in so many ways as friends, neighbors and partners. Our United Way will continue to be a great vehicle for bringing people together for the overall benefit of the North Country community” he said.
The United Way of Clinton and Essex has 33 partner agencies including several that already serve Franklin County. These health and human service organizations receive United Way funding to provide specific services based on community needs and their ability to achieve effective outcomes. The organization also coordinates a wide variety of programs including, 2-1-1 Information and Referral, Earned Income Tax Credit, Gifts in Kind and Disaster Preparedness. Last year, the organization raised over $700,000 dollars during its annual campaign. Sue LeBlanc is the current Board President of the United Way of Clinton and Essex. She said, “To be able to raise that much money during difficult economic times is a testament to the generous and caring nature of the people in the North Country”.