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.