Celebrating Success of Smethport Campaign

The United Way of the Bradford Area is celebrating the successes of the 2013 Smethport Campaign for United Way, and officials are inviting donors to join them on March 4th for an open-house event.

Light hors d’oeuvres will be served from 3:00 – 5:00 pm at the Hamlin Memorial Library community room at 123 South Mechanic Street in Smethport. Attendees are asked to RSVP if planning to attend.

Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis is also encouraging non-profit organizations interested in applying for funds from the campaign to attend as, well.

“I will have copies of the application, and will be available to answer any questions or concerns from agency representatives.  We welcome previous recipients to join us, too, as the application is slightly different than last year’s.

“But, aside from the application assistance, this is a great way for our staff to acknowledge the dedication that the Smethport community has to the United Way movement.”

The United Way of the Bradford Area is pleased with the results of its second appeal in the Smethport area. The $10,000 goal was surpassed, with donations coming from individuals, businesses and employees from workplaces throughout the county.

For more information on the event, or to RSVP, call the United Way office at 814-368-6181.

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“The more that you read, the more things you’ll know!”





You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.
You’re never too busy, too cool, or too hot, to pick up a book and share what you’ve got.
In schools and communities, let’s gather around, let’s pick up a book, let’s pass it around.
There are kids all around you, kids who will need someone to hug, someone to read.
Come join us March 3rd, your own special way and make this America’s Read to Kids Day!

What is Read Across America?

The National Education Association’s Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.

Motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers. Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school. Poor reading levels can lead to academic problems, which can increase the likelihood of dropping out, substance abuse, teen and early pregnancy, and criminal behavior, which all contribute to the cycle of poverty.

Here are the United Way of the Bradford Area, we want to increase literacy skills for the children in our community. We hold our monthly First Chapter program at the Bradford Area Public Library on the second Wednesday of every month at 10:30am. First Chapter is a free program for children ages 5 and younger and for family members or guardians of the participants.

In addition to joining us for First Chapter every month, here are some easy, everyday ways to incorporate literacy into your everyday lives.

At Home:
• Set a good example as a reader – let kids see you reading every day.
• Get a subscription in your child’s name to an age-appropriate magazine for your child. When relatives and others ask for gift ideas, suggest magazine subscriptions, books, or a book store gift certificate.
• Set up an area in your home where a variety of reading materials are within easy reach. Encourage writing by including paper, crayons, pens and pencils.
• Let your child see you reading, whether it’s the newspaper, a magazine, or the latest bestseller.
• Encourage a love of words by playing rhyming and word games, singing silly songs, or writing poems and stories together.
• Talk about daily activities or tell stories about your family or culture to help children develop their language skills.

At the Library:
• Keep lots of books, magazines, and newspapers around the house. Visit the library often and shop for books at garage and yard sales, swap meets, and used bookstores.
• Visit your local library often. Get your children their own library cards. Try a story hour or other free event at the library.
• Create a library for your child of new or used books. Look for affordable books at yard sales, secondhand book stores, and library book sales.

Visit the NEA’s Read Across America site to get even more fantastic tips!

The Bradford Area Public Library is located at 67 West Washington Street in Bradford, and is open 6 days a week. Library hours are Monday and Wednesday from 10:00am to 7:00pm; Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10:00am to 5:00pm.


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United Way to Celebrate Campaign

The United Way of the Bradford Area is celebrating the successes of the 2013 campaign, and officials are inviting donors to join them on February 20th for an open-house event.

Light hors d’oeuvres will be served from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at the UWBA office at 161 Main Street.  Attendees are asked to RSVP if planning to attend.

The “Life Is Good When You’re United” campaign exceeded the $330,000 monetary goal, but Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis says there’s a great deal to be touting.

“I’m so proud of everything that came from the 2013 appeal,” said Davis, “from the new donors, to increased contributions, to new agencies and programs being funded.  Even efforts that may not have necessarily gone as planned allowed us the opportunity to learn and grow, which only means bigger and better things for your local United Way.”

For more information on the event, or to RSVP, call the United Way office at 814-368-6181.

You + UWBA = Love

Whether Valentine’s Day conjures up warm and fuzzy feelings, a sense of dread and disdain for Cupid, or just excitement for heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, February 14 is all about celebrating love. And here at the United Way of the Bradford Area, we love some very special people – our supporters!

So here’s a declaration of our love for you, our dear friends.

We love you for the generous spirit throughout the year and during our annual campaign. When you show up to our events with a smile on your face and a spring in your step, we couldn’t be happier. From our spring Red Feather luncheon to our campaign kick-off pig roast and clam bake in September, we’re so happy you come to celebrate with us. We certainly felt the love when the 2013-2014 campaign Life is Good When You’re United surpassed its $330,000 goal.

We love you for all that’s made possible with your donations. Thousands of people benefit from the 30 programs and services of our 19 funded agencies. Think of the impact in the Bradford community – now that’s the sweetest thing!

We love you for all the volunteering time put into the United Way of the Bradford Area. Special events, the annual campaign, or even running our organization would not be possible without our trusty volunteers, campaign cabinet and board members.

So thank you, for being part of our organization through all of your support and generosity. This Valentine’s Day, we’re not just glad you “live united,” but we’re so glad your actions show that you “love united” as well!

UWBA Announces First-Quarter Recipients

Having completed another successful campaign, officials with the United Way of the Bradford Area announced the first-quarter recipients of the organization’s Community Innovations funding, which includes four agencies which have not received funding in the past.

“The committee was pleased to receive applications from, and allocate funding to, some new agencies – as well as previous applicants – through the Community Innovations program,” said Marcia Avey, UWBA board member and Community Innovations committee chair. “As a result, we were able to provide local agencies with financial resources to implement or expand special programming or services that might otherwise be unavailable in our community.”

The recipients are: Bradford Ecumenical Home Inc. – sweet treats gala; Bradford Family YMCA – youth after-school program; CARE for Children – parent/professional training; Children’s Advocacy Center of McKean County – outreach programming; Dickinson Mental Health – holiday events; Growing With Grace Christian Preschool – security update; McKean County 4-H – adult leadership training; McKean County Historical Society – community programs; and McKean County Special Olympics – aquatics program.

“We are so grateful to all our donors for their support, which makes programs like these possible,” said Avey. Local non-profit, 501(c)3 agencies may submit a request for up to $1,500 per quarter. The category supports programs independent of those benefiting from monthly allocations that have the potential to impact the local community, encouraging innovative approaches to meeting service needs, and produce specific and measurable outcomes.

Pictured, United Way of the Bradford Area Executive Director, Mandi Wilton Davis (l) recently spent time at the Children’s Advocacy Center of McKean County with Director Mikele Bay (c) and Forensic Interviewer Mindi Brown (r). The CAC is one of the newest agencies to receive funding from the local United Way.


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$330,000 is Actually Priceless




Did you know what you could purchase with $330,000?

You could buy:
– 8 Lexus IS 250 Sport luxury cars
– 7 nights in the country’s most expensive hotel room (Four Seasons New York)
– 10 custom Harley Davidson motorcycles
– A cruise around the world for you and a friend

Or you could give the biggest gift of all – a chance for a better life.

The 2013-2014 campaign exceeded its $330,000 goal, ensuring that local agencies will continue to provide needed services and programs to the area. Our community members in Bradford and beyond know that this money can improve the lives of our neighbors, friends and family members.

Women who are caught in a cycle of domestic violence can get themselves out of a potentially fatal situation with the help of the YWCA of Bradford. Parents can feed their children with the help of the many food pantries in Bradford.  Seniors can have a place to socialize with each other. People with disabilities have the ability to work, contribute to society, and participate in sport competitions. Working families can afford to send their children to affordable preschool with the help of subsidized tuition.  Men, women and children can be given shelter when they don’t have a place they can call home. Children with disabilities and delays can receive specialized, adaptive programs.

The possibilities are endless through the work of United Way funded agencies. Thousands of people in our community benefit, directly or indirectly, from the programs and services provided. The impact in our community started when you, our dear supporters, joined together and showed that “life is good when you’re united.”

Donor Puts Campaign Over Goal

Bradford was indeed a cool town on Friday, but warm hearts prevailed as an anonymous donor came through to push the United Way of the Bradford Area’s 2013 campaign over the $330,000 goal.

“By 8:30 in the morning, we had a phone call saying that this donor wanted to contribute an additional $5,000, which was beyond exciting,” said Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis.

Although the campaign closed earlier in the week, officials say that, because it was the donor’s wishes for these dollars to be attributed to the 2013 appeal, they will make the necessary adjustments.

“We, as an organization, obviously abide by the Donor Bill of Rights, which states that the donor can be assured that their gift will be used for the purpose for which it was given,” said Davis.  “In this case, it was directed to the 2013 campaign, and that’s where it will be used.”

Davis said she was happy with the success based on Thursday’s status, and is beyond elated today.

“I really don’t know what to say.  So many times I think that ‘Thank You’ isn’t enough to express how grateful I am, and this is definitely the case today.”

Davis reiterated that it’s not necessarily about the goal and whether or not that dollar amount was raised, but rather it’s the agencies and programs that offer the necessary services to our community that are the focal point. 

“We (at the United Way) do what we do because they (the funded agencies) do what they do.  Without the talents, compassion and dedication of these local agencies and all those people affiliated with them, I can’t even imagine how the lives of everyone in our area would be affected.”

Davis announced Thursday that regardless of whether or not goal was achieved, all agencies would receive there allocation in full.

Campaign Closes $2,500 Short of Goal

The United Way of the Bradford Area closed the books on the 2013 campaign, “Life Is Good When You’re United”, coming up just $2,500 short of the $330,000 fundraising goal.

“I’m truly so happy with the successes of this appeal,” said Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis.  “Aside from being so close to that 100%, we can assure our agencies that no one will receive a reduction in their 2014 monthly allocations, which is the most important thing.”

Davis said that diligent, responsible and strategic work on the part of the Board of Directors led to the agencies being able to receive their full allocation. 

“They (the board members) take their responsibilities very seriously, especially that of determining which agencies receive funding from the annual campaign(s), and they worked very hard to determine what would be best for those agencies – and our community – in the end,” said Davis.

Campaign Co-Chairs Mary Boser and Lisa Boser-Miller expressed their appreciation and enthusiasm for all of the support received since the beginning of the process in August. 

 “Yes, we would like to have our headline read that we met goal or even surpassed goal,” said Mary, “but we’re very proud of what our community has accomplished through their annual United Way giving.”

“In the end, it’s not necessarily the dollar amount that we should focus on,” said Lisa, “but rather the numbers – the number of agencies and programs which will receive funding through this campaign, the number of our friends and family and neighbors who will be impacted by those services – that’s what is important.”

The other number that Lisa said was imperative this year was that of new donors.

“To those folks who signed that pledge card for the first time, we thank you for taking that step with us, for saying that you believe in the United Way and what we do for our community.”

From what can be accounted for, there were nearly 75 new donors this year, which does not include many of the employees from various corporations. 

“Often times we don’t see who it is that is contributing through pay-roll deduction, so I’m sure that number would be much higher if we were able to account for those individuals,” said Davis.

UWBA Board President, Steve Williams, expressed his personal appreciation to those who made the 2013 campaign a success.

“We can’t thank the staff enough for the hard work they put into this appeal, as well as our campaign volunteers, board members and partner agencies who were out there advocating on behalf of the United Way. 

“And, thank you, of course, to the donors who amaze me with their generosity year-in and year-out.  We hope we, as an organization, express appropriately how truly grateful we are to you.”

Davis said that the theme of “Life Is Good When You’re United” was fitting for this campaign. 

“It’s funny because obviously the theme is decided upon long before the start of the actual solicitation process, so to sit back now and think of all of the intricacies of the 2013 campaign, I can honestly say there probably wasn’t a more fitting theme.”

That theme was decided on based on a competition amongst local elementary school students.  The winning theme came from the 2012-2013 3rd grade students in Mrs. Johnson’s class at School Street Elementary.

“Being a part of this campaign has proven to be an eye-opening experience,” said Mary.  “I thought I was in the loop as to the needs of the organizations for which the United Way supports, but the needs in our community are so much stronger than I ever anticipated. 

“I am proud to have represented such a fine organization as so many worked extremely hard striving to meet our goal,” she said.

“Many corporations, businesses, schools, and individuals gave back to our community, and all have combined efforts to spread the message Life is Good When You’re United.  Thank you for being a part of such an amazing effort,” said Lisa.     

So, what’s next for the local United Way? 

“Well, we are in the process of planning our special events for the 2014 calendar year,” said Davis.  “And, there were several goals that I had set for myself for 2013 that I didn’t accomplish at the office, so those are next on my list.  Then, there’s campaign 2014, which will kick-off in just seven months!”

2013 Campaign at 93% of Goal

There’s just one week until the books close on the United Way of the Bradford Area’s 2013 campaign, and officials are saying the final stretch will be the most difficult.

“We are at 93% of goal, which is a success, but we need a really strong push and follow-up to hit that $330,000 mark,” said Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis.  “It’s going to be tough, but we will do the absolute best we can to ensure that the agencies are able to be fully funded in the next year.”

And, Davis is encouraging anyone who wants to make that end-of-the-year donation to stop at the UWBA office anytime today.

“Our office will be open from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, so you can make your final tax-deductible charitable contribution.”

 Local agencies which have been awarded funding from the 2013 campaign have been notified of what their allocations will be based on the full $330,000 being raised.  But, if the campaign falls short of that goal, the agencies will notice a reduction in their monthly allocations, which could be detrimental to some.

“There are several of the funded agencies that are literally relying on these allocations, down to the last dollar,” said Davis.  “Any hit to their United Way budget could mean that other areas are going to see a subsequent hit, which could mean a reduction or complete depletion of programs and services.”

Campaign Co-Chairs Mary Boser and Lisa Boser-Miller are stressing the importance of giving.

“We truly need the entire community’s support,” said Mary. 

Lisa echoed those remarks, adding, “Think of it as an investment, which is truly is.  You’re investing in the future of your friends, neighbors and the community as a whole.”