McKean Co. Awarded EFSP Funds

McKean County has been awarded $22,586 in direct federal funding under Phase 35 of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP). This award will supplement emergency food and shelter programs in McKean County for a spending period of February 1, 2018 – January 31, 2019.
The National Board is comprised of representatives from health and human service agencies across the country.  The United States Congress appropriates funds annually to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas nationally.
The local board, made up of representatives from McKean County, will determine how the funds will be distributed.  Local agency representation includes The Salvation Army, McKean/Potter Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross, United Way of the Bradford Area, Catholic Charities, Ministerial Association, local government, the McKean County Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the YWCA of Bradford.
Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local organizations chosen to receive the funds must:  1) be private, voluntary non-profit organizations or units of government, 2) have an accounting system, 3) practice non-discrimination, 4) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs and 5) must have a voluntary board (if they are a private, voluntary organization).  Qualifying organizations are urged to apply.
Public or private voluntary organizations interested in applying for EFSP funds must contact the United Way of the Bradford Area at 368-6181 or  Funds will be allocated to one local recipient organization per program/service; organizations which are able to meet spending and document submission requirements; and those which have electronic communication capabilities. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, June 6, 2018.
For more information, please contact Mandi Wilton Davis, Executive Director at the United Way.

Zippo, Employees To Receive Red Feather

The United Way of the Bradford Area will honor Zippo Manufacturing Company and Zippo employees with the Red Feather volunteer award at a luncheon on Thursday, May 3rd, officials announced today.
“The impact that both the company and its employees have made on the local United Way – since the company’s earliest days – is so grand.  I cannot begin to acknowledge both entities enough for their contributions and continued support of what we do to support the community,” said Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis. 

Davis says that both receiving entities embody what the Red Feather award stands for. 
“This was implemented to honor outstanding individuals or businesses who have made an impact on the United Way, and the local community as a whole, through their day-to-day selfless attitude and commitment to exemplify our mission of enhancing the quality of life in the areas we serve. 
“I think everyone will agree that our recipients are well-deserving of this honor,” she said.
Davis also said that there is a high level of commitment from the employees, who are not only supportive of the UWBA monetarily, but who hold positions on the Board of Directors, volunteer at special events, or advocate for the work being done in the Bradford community. 
“This, again, was an expectation of Mr. Blaisdell, that his employees would serve the community, and we are so fortunate that Mr. (George) Duke and Mr. (Mark) Paup continue that tradition today.” 
For his part, Mr. Duke stated, “It is a long standing tradition and part of the Zippo culture to give back to our wonderful community.  Throughout all these years, as the United Way of the Bradford Area continues to meet their mission, the company is inspired to match the generous contributions of the employees, who proudly support the United Way.”
Zippo Manufacturing Company has been a Bradford icon since the early 1930’s, developing into one of the most recognizable global brands today.  The desire to build upon the foundation built by Mr. George Blaisdell while continuing innovative approaches to current trends and lifestyles make the products relevant across many generations. 
The Red Feather luncheon will be held in the Mukaiyama University Room at the University of Pittsburgh Bradford, beginning at 12:00 pm.  The cost is $30 per person, with sponsorship opportunities also available at various levels.  Reservations may be made through April 25th by calling the office at 368-6181 or emailing


Lisa Johnson To Receive Excellence In Representation Award

Bradford Ecumenical Home, Inc.’s CEO, Lisa Johnson, has been announced as the 2018 recipient of the Excellence in Representation Award, according to United Way Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis.
The Excellence in Representation award was created to recognize an outstanding agency representative who best exemplifies United Way’s mission within their own organization, who participates in the annual campaign, and possesses a working knowledge of United Way and how it benefits the various programs and services in the community.
“Lisa is a strong advocate of the United Way’s mission, and the support she garners from her staff at BEH, Inc. is fantastic.  She also offers her expertise to several collaborative efforts, and we’re proud to partner with her,” said Davis.
For her part, Johnson said, “Bradford Ecumenical Home, Inc. is fortunate to share a similar mission and vision with several community partners as we enhance our services to provide quality care.  The strength and success of an organization in large part, comes from the support from our friends and partners.  We value our collaborations with organizations such as the local United Way. and look forward to all the great things to come!”
Johnson, a Bradford native and graduate of Slippery Rock University, has worked at Bradford Ecumenical Home, Inc. for 18 years.  She is a member of the College of Health Care Administrators, and is a current board member of Futures Rehabilitation Center, Inc., the YMCA of Bradford and Leadership McKean.  She resides in Bradford with her two children, Regan and Lucas.
The Excellence in Representation award will be given at the United Way’s annual Red Feather Volunteer recognition luncheon on May 3rd.  Reservations may be made by calling the United Way office.

UWBA Accepting Community Impact Applications

The United Way of the Bradford Area is currently accepting applications for the second quarter of Community Impact funding for 2018.
Eligible non-profit agencies may submit a request for up to $1,500 for Community Impact funds.  Awards will be given to programs or initiatives with the potential to make an immediate impact on the local community while being essential to the agencies mission.  Priority will be given to those who have not received prior funding, who have supplied all necessary documentation, and request funding for programmatic costs.
Impact applications may be received by visiting United Way’s website at, the United Way office, or by request at  Along with the application, it is being requested of applicants that a detailed budget of planned expenditures be included.
All applications are reviewed by a committee comprised of United Way Board members, with recommendations being presented to the full board for final approval. For more information regarding the application process, please contact the United Way.

Smethport, Port Allegany United Way Campaigns Surpass Goals

Two additional United Way campaigns in the county surpassed monetary goals from the 2017 fundraising efforts, officials announced Friday.

The Smethport and Port Allegany campaigns – run by the United Way of the Bradford Area office – raised $17,590 and $17,747 respectively.

In the office’s sixth year managing the Smethport efforts, officials say one of the highlights was the new donors; 10 contributors gave just over $800.  Additionally, the campaign experienced increases in both the business and national firms divisions. 

In the second year managing the Port Allegany Campaign for United Way, giving increased by 15%.   Every division – and for that campaign there are seven – either met or exceeded the amount raised during the previous year. 

UWBA Board Member and Port Allegany representative, Gwen Rush, said, “People coming together as a community can make things happen.  Exceeding our campaign goal speaks volumes about the outpouring support from the businesses and people who live in Port Allegany.”

Jodie Wagner, UWBA Board Secretary, stressed the importance of acknowledging the continued support received for the annual United Way campaigns.

“Regardless of the community you reside in, I want to thank each person, business and corporation which took the time to donate.  Your contributions are valued and greatly needed to help fund programs in all of our service areas.”

The United Way office is currently accepting applications for funding from both the Smethport and Port Allegany campaigns.  Eligible non-profits providing services throughout each area may request funds to be applied towards applicable programs and services.  All applications are reviewed by a committee comprised of United Way board members, with recommendations being presented to the full board for final approval. 

The deadline for all Port Allegany requests is March 1.  Smethport requests may be submitted by March 1 and September 1.  Those applications are available on the United Way’s website, or be emailing

The United Way is also seeking a representative for the Smethport community on their Board of Directors.  If you are interested in volunteering and advocating for your community and non-profits served, please contact Mandi Wilton Davis as 814-368-6181.

Anonymous Donors Push United Way Over Goal

The “Cool Town, Warm Hearts” theme prevailed again this week, especially at the United Way of the Bradford Area office, from where officials announced that contributions made designated to the 2017 campaign pushed the efforts over the $340,000 goal.


Although last week it was announced that the appeal was just short – by $3,200 – the announcement served as a call to action for some.


“Within a week we had secured enough to exceed that monetary goal,” said Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis.  “I cannot thank those donors enough, not just for their monetary contribution, but for their continued belief in the work that is being done by way of United Way-funded programs and services here in our local community. That’s what is most important – the impact that these great entities are making on our entire population.”


Davis says this announcement does not change the coming months for the organization, however. 


“We will still be spending a great deal of time working on retention, recruitment and growth tactics.  I think there are some things we do very well, and some things we could certainly improve upon. We want to ensure continued success for the sake of the community,” said Davis.


For more information on the local United Way, contact the office or visit

Bradford Campaign Ends $3,200 Short of Goal

“Your contributions are valued and greatly needed to help fund programs in our area!”

Those are the closing sentiments United Way of the Bradford Area’s Board Secretary, Jodie Wagner, who – along with her fellow Board Members – served as co-chair of the 2017 campaign.  Officials announced Thursday at the first Report to the Community that the appeal closed having raised $336,800, just $3,200 short of the goal.

At the event, Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis highlighted many positives that came from the four-month fundraising process, including the number of donors who varied up, meaning they were existing contributors who increased their gift, or they were contributors who did not give in 2016.

“We had 46 contributing entities (totaling just over $12,000 in gifts) in 2017 that were not factored in 2016,” said Davis.  “We also had 55 donors who increased their contribution from the year prior, totaling over $19,000.

“We are excited to build upon these numbers as we look towards the 2018 appeal.  However, we also recognize that with the ups, there are some downs.  We saw several contributing entities either slightly decrease their gift from the previous year, or unfortunately not give at all, which essentially negated the increases that we saw,” Davis explained.  “We will spend the next few months analyzing our data to determine the best ways to not only retain the relationships we’ve established or built upon this year, but also developing new recruitment tactics.”

Karen Costello-Pecht, board vice president, said that while the local organization recognizes the financial hardships and difficult times that are present in our local area, everyone on the board remains grateful to those who are able to contribute and help the United Way to continue its mission.

The Report to the Community also featured an update on the McKean County 2-1-1 system, as well as recognition of the employee workplace campaigns who experienced 100% participation for the 2017 campaign.

Costello-Pecht said she was very thankful to each employee for continuing their generosity, but also “to the managers and campaign coordinators who believe so strongly in the United Way’s mission, and promote its purpose positively among the workforce.”  She and Lauren Bly, Board Treasurer acknowledged the following as the 2017 100% participants:  Bradford City Fire Department; Bradford OECD; Bradford Sanitary Authority; Bradford Water Authority; CARE for Children; Hamlin Bank-Bradford; and the YWCA Bradford.

Wagner also stressed that, while the campaign fell ever-so-slightly short of goal, the local United Way does not anticipate any reduced funding to any of the funded agencies.

“Like Jodie said, your dollars matter,” said Costello-Pecht.  “There are so many important programs and services that continue to benefit from the generosity of our donors, and we are so very thankful that we can continue to make an impact on our family, friends and neighbors because of your kindness.”

With money raised during this most recent endeavor, the local United Way office will – on a monthly basis – be able to fund 16 local organizations, supporting 24 programs and services, who applied for funding from the RFP process in the fall of 2017. Those agencies include:  A Partnership in Housing, Inc., Alcohol & Drug Abuse Services; BRMC’s Meals on Wheels; CARE for Children; CASA of McKean County; Catholic Charities; Destinations Bradford; Evergreen Elm; Futures Rehabilitation Center; Greater Bradford Senior Activity Center; Growing With Grace Christian Preschool; McKean/Potter Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross; The Family Center – Bradford; The Salvation Army; YMCA of the Twin Tiers – Bradford Branch; YWCA Bradford. 

Additionally, there will be funding available to organizations through quarterly allocations from the Community Impact and Community Innovations streams.  The first quarter Community Innovations recipients were Bradford Ecumenical Home, Inc.’s Silver Strengthening program and McKean County Arts Council’s community outreach programs.  Community Impact recipients included CARE for Children-Pediatric Therapy and Early Learning Professional Training; Dickinson Center-Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program ; Evergreen Elm-Therapeutic Swimming Program; McKean County Historical Society – general programming; and McKean County Special Olympics- Aquatics program.

While this was the first Report to the Community hosted by the United Way, officials are planning this to be an annual event.

United Way Falling Short of Goal, with Friday deadline

One woman was able to leave an abusive relationship through the courage she found while living at the YWCA Bradford.

The YW, as well as dozens other nonprofit agencies in the county, are able to operate and help people in need, in large part, thanks to the funding received from the United Way of the Bradford Area.

Unfortunately, the United Way in Bradford is currently short of the $340,000 goal that it hoped to reach by Friday, said Mandi Wilton Davis, executive director.  Davis said the agency is making its final appeal to the community to raise an additional $30,000 in order to reach its goal.

“We have some significant outstanding (donations) we are expecting to come in, but they haven’t yet arrived,” Davis said Wednesday.  “We wanted to remind everyone how imperative the United Way is in the community and how imperative reaching that goal is.

“Obviously, this is for the agencies that are relying on funding to maintain their services,” she noted.  “We always say that if you find someone who has not been impacted by a United Way-funded agency, you’re almost in a minority.  I think we can all share stories on how we’ve been directly impacted by one of these programs or services.”

Davis said the United Way has been in existence in Bradford since 1925 and has had the generous support of the community since then.  “For us to be able to say that in this community we can consistently raise well over $300,000 a year is a big accomplishment,” Davis said of yearly solicitation of funds held between August 15 and December 15.  She said all funds are expected to be raised at the end of the business day January 5.  If designated funding for the 2017 campaign is received after that date, it will be accepted.

On a related note, Davis said the agency also manages separate, independent campaigns for the Smethport Campaign for United Way which has a goal of raising $17,000, and the Port Allegany Campaign for United Way, which has a goal of raising $15,000.

Several recipient agencies provided stories on how United Way funds have helped the children and adults they serve.  An administrator from the YW had this to say:

“If I could broadcast the experience of watching someone go from despair to excitement, accomplish, hope – it really is a great gift to be able to do what I do.  I wish that all the people who contribute to the United Way and your board could see just a snapshot, because then they’d really know what (the agencies) do with every dollar they give.”

A single father in the YW’s homeless shelter last year, which is also helped through United Way funding, said the shelter has empowered him to “become more self-sufficient, make a better life for myself, fell like somebody cared, feel motivated to try harder, and find stable housing for me and my girls.”

An administrator at the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program of McKean County said the agency served 38 children in 2017 through 23 active volunteers.  Of those, two children were reunified with their respective mothers, one child was adopted and one child entered into guardianship.  

“Notably, we have a 12 year-old child served by CASA who is scheduled to be adopted and was able to trick-or-treat for the first time ever in 2017,” the administrator said.

Brent Raabe, executive director at the Bradford Family YMCA, also thanked the United Way for its generosity.  

“The funding that comes form the efforts through the United Way annual campaign directly support and sustain many programs and services here at the Y that truly impact so many members of our community,” Raabe said.  The funding support programs that include the Sixth Grade initiative, which provides that school group with a free YMCA membership and all its amenities.

“We cannot thank the United Way enough for all they do for our community and the Bradford YMCA,” Raabe said.

To provide a donation to the United Way, visit their website or call 368-6181.  Checks, cash or credit cards are acceptable, as well as pledges that can be billed for payments in the 2018 calendar year.