On Tuesday, June 8, nearly 300 United Way of Lancaster County supporters came together at Eden Resort to honor investors, volunteers, company coordinators, labor representatives, businesses, and board and committee members at the annual Celebration Dinner.
“For more than 90 years, United Way of Lancaster County has been blessed with generous supporters who give their time, talent, and treasure,” said Randy Patterson, United Way Board Chair. “It is a privilege to recognize some of the hundreds of people in our community who LIVE UNITED to make bold change possible Lancaster County.”
“There is tremendous work being done throughout the county by United Way’s Community Impact Partners,” said Sue Suter, president and CEO of United Way of Lancaster County. “We are excited to recognize some of the people who are instrumental in making a positive impact in the lives of individuals and families living in Lancaster County. Their commitment and support make our home a better place for all of us to live.”
Numerous individuals and groups were recognized for their dedication and commitment of United Way. Each year, United Way’s Campaign Chair recognizes a company whose innovative ideas and efforts have influenced the community campaign on a county-wide basis. The recipient of this year’s Campaign Chair Award is Armstrong World Industries and Armstrong Flooring. Their contributions to United Way of Lancaster County include being one of United Way’s largest campaign supporters, from both an employee and a corporate perspective, taking part in United Way’s early Pacesetter campaigns since it was implemented in 2012, and, this year, they provided the top incentive in our Prize Giveaway, $1,000 a month for a year.
The Thomas H. Bamford Volunteer of the Year Award honors a volunteer who exemplifies the spirit of LIVE UNITED by going well above and beyond the call of duty. This year’s recipient is Jared Miller, a professional tax expert who volunteers in several roles with the VITA Program. Jared first got involved with VITA in 2009 and since that time he has loaned his expertise to conduct more than 15 tax trainings annually to teach volunteers how to prepare returns. Jared also donates time to create the training plan, prepare materials, and provide one-on-one help preparing VITA volunteers, new and veteran alike, to do tax returns correctly. In addition, Jared prepares returns for clients at several VITA sites and works with all site managers to resolve tax issues and advise on IRS policies. At the end of the tax season, he consults and advises on ongoing tax issues and helps plan for future tax seasons.
The United Way’s distinguished Board Chair’s Award isn’t routinely awarded. It is the prerogative of the Board Chair to award this if an individual or company brought unique, impacting value to United Way over the past year. This year, Board Chair Randy Patterson selected the United Way of Lancaster County’s Women’s Leadership Council as the recipient of the Board’s Chair Award. Since its inception more than a decade ago, the Women’s Leadership Council has raised in excess of $1 million to improve the lives of women and children in our county. This year the Women’s Leadership Council’s lead gift of $75,000 was instrumental in the acquisition of Caseworthy case management software to support the work of United Way’s Community Impact Partners. The software has already proven itself to be a key success factor for the Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness. Ultimately, it is hoped that this software will serve every nonprofit organization in Lancaster County. To quote Dan Jurman, president and chief executive officer of the Community Action Program of Lancaster County and chair of the Mayor’s Commission to Combat Poverty, “This software is a game changer.”
The Lancaster Coalition to End Homelessness, one of United Way of Lancaster County’s Community Impact Partners, was honored with the 2016 Spirit of Lancaster Award, United Way’s highest tribute for community involvement. The award, patterned after United Way Worldwide’s Spirit of America Award, honors exceptional commitment and investment by businesses or organizations and their employees. Honorees exemplify a caring spirit, and commitment to the community that together make a powerful lasting impact on Lancaster County. The Lancaster Coalition to End Homelessness is a cross-functional team of providers aligned to serve individuals and families facing or experiencing homelessness. The Coalition is one of United Way of Lancaster County’s Community Impact Partners, and they work to address systemic barriers for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. These services include coordinated outreach and assessment—CHART, we call it—rapid re-housing locators, and rental assistance. This Partnership connects providers and systems together for broader impact on individuals and families experiencing homelessness with a goal of ending chronic homelessness in Lancaster County. The power of this collaboration has already been demonstrated by eliminating homelessness for veterans in our county!
The Community Building Award, presented for the first time this year, is given to an individual or organization that supports United Way in its community-building efforts, encourages cooperation, contributes talents, and sustains partnerships. The recipient of the Community Building Award is Tom Baldrige, President and CEO of The Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Tom has been associated with United Way of Lancaster County for 27 years and has served as a member of the United Way’s Allocations Panel, Community Needs Committee, and Government Relations Committee. After chairing some of these committees, he became Chair of the United Way Board in 2013. Tom continues to be a champion for United Way and an active collaborative partner working to help United Way achieve our goals.
The final award presented at the event was the LIVE UNITED award. The LIVE UNITED award is 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, and receiving the 2016 LIVE UNITED award was The High Companies. This family-owned company has maintained a focus on innovation and serving its customers—and serving them well. The same holds true for their commitment of service to their community and the United Way. The High Companies provides senior leadership support on the United Way Board and key volunteer committees, they follow United Way’s best practices with their annual campaigns, resulting in employee and corporate investments in excess of $100,000 annually, their various locations hold special fundraising events to support United Way, they invest in sponsorships to support specific United Way activities, and their employees turn out in force at our annual Days of Caring. The High Foundation has carried forth a mission of making a significant difference in the community’s quality of life by aligning with service organizations to support positive change within areas of identified need in the community. The High Companies truly are devoted to the United Way’s mission to GIVE, ADVOCATE, VOLUNTEER, and LIVE UNITED.