Butler County United Way Impacts the Community
Butler County United Way has a long history of tackling the toughest challenges within a community. Founded in 1920 and part of the largest, privately funded nonprofit in the world, their mission is to connect and mobilize resources through partner agency programs across Butler County.
“We fund programs, not agencies,” explains Margaret Baker, president and CEO, Butler County United Way. “Each program needs to align with our three pillars of health, education and income. We believe these three focuses are the building blocks for a good life.”
Baker explains that determining program funding is based on a number of factors, including the fiscal soundness of the agency requesting funds, the number of people impacted by the program, and the degree to which the program makes a positive impact in the community.
“We make sure that program funds are used only for what they were intended,” she says. “It is our responsibility to monitor and report to the community the impact of their donations.” With an annual budget of more than $1.6 million in 2014, ButlerCounty United Way funded 34 programs, impacting 25,000 Butler County residents. The funded programs offered through partner agencies span a wide array of assistance, from home repair to drug rehab and many programs
“It is important to understand that bad things can happen to good people; none of us are exempt,” Baker concludes. “We fund programs that promote self sufficiency, which is not only important for individuals, but strengthens our communities and our county.”
Sojourner Recovery Services
Pregnant with her third child, Dusty Howell spent four months in Sojourner’s Perinatal Program to combat her heroin addiction. Sojourner Recovery Services is the primary comprehensive alcohol and drug addiction treatment provider in Southwest Ohio and the Perinatal Program for Butler County is funded by Butler County United Way.
The program provides substance abuse prevention services to women (especially pregnant women) and their partners. Howell says the program taught her personal responsibility, how to build healthy habits and establish boundaries, as well as how to adjust to a drug-free life. “There’s hope out there for everybody, but they’ve got to want it,” she says.
“Our program provides early intervention for pregnant women who are identified as drug users,” explains Scott Gehring, Sojourner President and CEO. “As soon as they are referred, we get them into prenatal care and work with them on getting drug free.” Perinatal clients receive medicated-assisted treatment to aid in their recovery process, allowing the mother to focus on therapy. Following the baby’s birth, perinatal educators continue to see the new mom for up to a year, to provide support and to ensure she stays sober.
The program was able to help Howell, and her baby was born drug free.
People Working Cooperatively (PWC)
Vivian Ratliff was very grateful for help when her hot water heater broke. “They replaced it right away for me,” she says. A unique nonprofit organization, PWC provides professional home repairs, weatherization, modification and maintenance services to low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners, many in a crisis situation.
“The fact that Butler County United Way funds emergency home repairs in Butler County is extremely important,” says Nina Creech, vice president, operations, People Working Cooperatively. “As an extra benefit, our affiliation with them helps PWC attract a strong volunteer base to assist with our mission of keeping people safely and securely in their homes.”
Emergency home repairs – considered PWC’s most crucial service – include broken water pipes, a lack of heat, safety issues (such as electrical hazards), leaking hot water heaters and non-working toilets. Creech explains that repairs are performed by trained, licensed and bonded plumbers, electricians, carpenters and HVAC technicians who are employees of the agency.
Ratliff has also taken advantage of PWC’s other services, including home winterization. “They wrapped my hot water heater and my pipes, and put a rubber strip around the door. It helped lower my bills,” Ratliff says. In the fall, volunteers rake her leaves and clean her gutters. “I really appreciate PWC,” Ratliff says gratefully. “They are a wonderful organization to help people like me.”
Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Learn more about the Butler County United Way by calling 513.863.0800 or visiting their website at www.bc-unitedway.org.