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Building on Decades of Community Activism and Support
At a Glance
- In 2016, a year ahead of schedule, Lancaster County, PA, became the first county in the U.S. to end chronic homelessness through the work of United Way and its funded organizations.
- The Lancaster agency was the first United Way in the U.S. to convert 100% of its focus to the innovative “collective impact” funding model.
- The High companies received United Way’s highest award in 2016, the LIVE UNITED Award, for its financial and volunteer giving to the United Way and the Lancaster community.
- Many High co-workers have volunteered their time at United Way’s Day of Caring and other United Way events over the past several years.
Toward a Better Future for the Lancaster Community
Among United Way’s 1200 agencies throughout the U.S., United Way of Lancaster County (Lancaster United Way) stands out for its innovative collaboration with its funded organizations and community contributors, particularly the High companies.
With a strong focus on local-area health, education, and financial stability—the building blocks for a good quality of life—Lancaster United Way brings together community businesses, leaders, public officials, residents who contribute at work, and non-profit organizations to achieve community goals.
Lancaster United Way currently uses contributions to fund numerous non-profit organizations in addition to these special services:
- The 2-1-1 call center for people in need, to help them locate community services
- The Volunteer Center (each year some 15,000 volunteers and families take part)
- The VITA program, which provides free tax preparation and advice to low- and moderate-income taxpayers
Making a “Collective Impact”
A decade or so ago, Lancaster United Way set out to test the idea of partnering collaboratively with funded organizations to solve a community-wide problem. This led to the creation of the Homeless Coalition, with the goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2017. Together, United Way and its community partners achieved that goal in 2016, a full year ahead of schedule, becoming the first county in America to do so.
Encouraged by this significant success, in May 2015 Lancaster United Way moved from its traditional funding model to the 10-year “Collective Impact” program, becoming the first United Way in the U.S. to operate 100% in this way.
The 17 non-profit collaboratives funded by Lancaster United Way—its Collective Impact Partners—have pledged to collaborate with the agency to solve community problems on the way to achieving four bold goals by 2025:
- 100% of the children entering kindergarten ready to learn
- 100% of students and adults having post-secondary credentials
- 50% decrease in individuals and families living in poverty
- 100% of individuals, children, and families having a “medical home”: physician, dentist, and mental health provider
GIVING THE HIGH WAY
High co-workers have been generous, pledging nearly $2 million since 2007.
High co-workers volunteer for the annual United Way Day of Caring.
High received the 2016 "Live United" award. CEO Mike Shirk (center) stands with Sue Suter and Randy Patterson of United Way of Lancaster County.
High co-workers are encouraged to support community activities, and often treat it as part of their job. Photo LNP.
The High Companies—Giving Good Measure of Support for 85 Years
The High companies and the Lancaster United Way share a decades-long and thriving history of giving to the people of Lancaster County.
As one of Lancaster United Way’s top three corporate supporters, the High companies provide generous co-worker contributions and corporate gifts. They also stand ready to help when unexpected problems arise.
But perhaps the most visible evidence of their deep concern for the Lancaster community is the huge number of hours High co-workers contribute as volunteers to help United Way organizations meet their goals. The High companies’ dedication also shows in the fact that co-workers are encouraged to take time from their jobs to attend meetings explaining United Way volunteer opportunities.
Sue Suter, President and CEO of United Way of Lancaster County, has high praise for High volunteers: “They really care, more than in any other place I’ve ever seen. They’re as dedicated and responsible as if they were being paid for their efforts.”
Lancaster United Way has recognized the High companies’ many contributions to its success by including them in:
- The Pillar Society, a small group of organizations that have given $100,000 or more through co-worker and corporate contributions
- The Circle of Honor, which “applauds businesses that truly support United Way’s mission.” Inclusion in the Circle of Honor recognizes the quality of a company’s workplace campaigns, co-worker support of and participation in United Way activities, and other nonmonetary contributions.
In June of 2016, Lancaster United Way honored its supporters at its annual Celebration Dinner. The High companies received the prestigious LIVE UNITED award, presented to “a company or organization whose engagement in the Lancaster County community results in a significant contribution toward improving the quality of life for those in need through giving, advocating, and volunteering.”
Also honored was Robin Stauffer, Corporate Secretary on the High companies Board of Directors, who as co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Council aided in the acquisition of Caseworthy case management software, which provides a single source of case data for agencies to improve the process and experience for people in need.
Sue Suter summed up the achievements of all the Lancaster United Way supporters honored at the dinner:
“There is tremendous work being done throughout the county by United Way’s Community Impact Partners…. Their commitment and support make our home a better place for all of us to live.”