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What We Do

United Way’s work is to actively fight against injustice. Our mission, “to mobilize the caring power of our community to achieve impactful systemic social change within our community”, invites everyone to the table to seek solutions, so that the problems of this generation will not become barriers for the next generation. That’s what makes the hard work worth doing. Join us in our mission as we choose how to give, advocate, and volunteer, with equity as our primary objective!

Our Vision of Equity

Common Goals

Work to develop common goals that are devoted to the betterment of the community.

Address Gaps

Identify and address gaps in services.

Include Everyone

Support collaborative programs that are built to address multiple issues and populations, to ensure “all” includes everyone in Lancaster County.

Continued Evaluation

Continue to evaluate and explore how our collective actions make Lancaster a more equitable place for everyone.

We know the work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is unique to every United Way community around the world.

We are committed to:

Exploring our cultural competency as an institution, and adapting our policies to respect diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Exploring our cultural competency as an institution, and adapting our policies to respect diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Providing space and processes that can facilitate deep and honest learning, ensuring our work and the work of our partners strives to overcome the historical vestiges of racism and white supremacy.

Ensuring our actions support truly equitable – not just equal – access to community resources.

Remaining at the forefront of social change and continuously working to create real, systemic change.

Using our voice to boldly speak out publicly to recognize the range of diversity, equity, and inclusion concerns in our community.

At United Way, we partner with nonprofit organizations doing the hard work in our community.

We know that access to education, healthcare, and economic advantages are not always available to everyone in a way that promotes equity. That’s why we support organizations that have proven their dedication to creating equitable opportunities where they are needed most. We can do this by not only providing our own funding, but also leveraging matching dollars from our community of supporters.

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Education

Educational opportunities are available through the unique partnerships we have established  in Lancaster. Each of these was selected with equity as our goal, and focus on bringing new and advanced opportunities to the persons in our community who may not otherwise have access to them, or engage with them in quite the same way. 

Lancaster Partnership for Learning Equity

Many children in our community are facing learning challenges, access to technology, or keeping up with learning during summer break. The Lancaster Partnership for Learning Equity builds capacity in Lancaster for our young learners by offering programming to support important learning outcomes. 

This initiative provides a free virtual after-school program to the students of Lancaster County. It focuses not only on academic support, but also provides internet connectivity and the hardware needed to support learning from home, outside of school hours.

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Summer Youth Experience

By partnering with the Rotary Club of Lancaster, this program allows the United Way of Lancaster to provide grants to nonprofits who offer summer learning opportunities to youth ages 5-16 in our city. These grants allow qualified nonprofits to offer educational programs that focus on a curriculum in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM).

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EITC Grants 

United Way of Lancaster County is committed to ensuring that children in our community have the best chance of success in school and throughout the rest of their lives. As part of this commitment, we provide scholarship assistance for Pre-Kindergarten programs to children whose families are in need of financial help. Our scholarship averages $1,500 per child, so qualified 3-6 year old children across Lancaster County can attend high-quality Pre-Kindergarten programs. United Way of Lancaster County has been approved as a Pre-Kindergarten Scholarship Organization by the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).   

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Project Blueprint

Many of the boards and committees in Lancaster do not reflect the diverse populations that they represent. The goal of Project Blueprint is to train underrepresented community members and give them a seat at the decision-making table. This program also offers training to the organizations who want to address inequity at the administrative level, and be more authentically inclusive and welcoming to diverse board members. Together they can create policies that are truly representative of the diverse individuals they impact, and can create systemic change that allows all of our community members to thrive.

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Health

Access to quality healthcare is one of the most pressing issues facing our community. United Way of Lancaster supports initiatives that expand access to vital and affordable healthcare programs that provide essential services to all individuals in our community.

Partnership for Public Health

The Partnership for Public Health in Lancaster County exists to find solutions to the unique public health challenges that our county faces. The Partnership is committed to combining the resources of public and private organizations to reduce fragmentation and improve the health of all residents. The Partnership relies on the engagement of diverse organizations that provide the underlying support needed to ensure its success.

Nurse Family Partnership

The Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is a national community health program that provides first-time moms with trusted support from registered nurses to build the lives they want for themselves and their children. Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health has been proud to collaborate with United Way of Lancaster County to implement NFP locally for the past 21 years. The goals of NFP directly align with the mission and vision of both organizations in advancing the health and well-being of the communities we serve.

Union Community Care 

Through Level up and Launch in 2022, Union Community Care developed a new mobile health unit to mobilize healthcare throughout Lancaster County. The mobile health van will enable access to high-quality care in areas with limited access to health services. The program will be available to residents of underserved communities who face numerous barriers to accessing care, not least of which is transportation and affordability..

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211

211 is an easy to remember phone number that quickly connects people with resources in their communities, and it’s available 24/7. Click here to see how 211 is providing essential healthcare services to the residents of Lancaster!

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Economic Mobility

Our work to boost economic advantages focuses on supporting households who are employed, but have limited income and minimal assets. We partner with programs who help solve financial issues, offer more affordable (or free) options, and work to fill in the gaps for households who are facing economic hardships.

VITA

Volunteers prepare computerized, electronic returns through the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Tax Income Assistance (VITA) program, which is designed to provide low- to moderate-income working families with help completing federal and state returns, and obtaining credits for which they are eligible. The program is available January through April.

Savi

United Way has partnered with Savi, an online student loan management platform, to help people freely and easily access student loan debt relief. This online tool reviews your student loan options and summarizes repayment options that fit your needs.

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Community Financial Education

We empower the work of financial literacy education classes held in the community for anyone looking to learn about budgeting, credit, identity theft, loans for school, and more. We help our community members gain clearer knowledge and understanding of these tough topics, so they can make the best decisions possible in their own financial situations.

Capacity Building

United Way is on a mission to advance the education, health and economic mobility of our community by mobilizing resources, people, and organizations. We envision an equitable Lancaster County where every individual has an opportunity to succeed, and the entire community thrives as a result. We want to address complex community issues by investing in the basic building blocks that every person – and every community – need to thrive: education, health and economic mobility. We aim to serve individuals who are historically or currently marginalized and/or are suffering from systemic inequities that impede their ability to reach and maintain financial independence through family-sustaining employment.

Project Blueprint

Many of the boards and committees in Lancaster do not reflect the diverse populations that they represent. The goal of Project Blueprint is to train underrepresented community members and give them a seat at the decision-making table. This program also offers training to the organizations who want to address inequity at the administrative level, and be more authentically inclusive and welcoming to diverse board members. Together they can create policies that are truly representative of the diverse individuals they impact, and can create systemic change that allows all of our community members to thrive.

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Language Justice Initiative

Language justice refers to everyone’s right to communicate in the language they feel most comfortable. Without appropriate resources and accommodations, we risk marginalizing individuals based on their national origin, ethnic identification, and language. In certain scenarios, we risk their health and safety when information is misinterpreted. We hope to enhance existing community resources with a framework of justice that respects peoples’ fundamental rights to understand and be understood in the language they feel most articulate and powerful.

Affinity Groups

Women United

Women United invests in the betterment of Lancaster County women. Member contributions are invested in programs and initiatives through an annual grant process. Each year the grant focuses on a different area of United Way’s mission as it relates to women; achieve impactful change in the education, economic mobility and health of Lancaster County women.

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Community Convening

Community Conversations

United Way of Lancaster County Presents: Conversations about OUR Community. We convene expert voices in Lancaster to talk about important issues facing our community, such as healthcare, access to resources, language justice, and more. We recognize the importance of effective communication and aim to foster open conversations as we move forward together.

United Way of Lancaster County Partner Groups

The Staff members at United Way are intentional about showing up in community groups throughout Lancaster. We have representatives in multiple sectors to ensure we have an understanding of what is happening in Lancaster around economic justice, healthcare, equity, and education. Collaboratively, we have 7 staff persons active in 30 working groups throughout Lancaster.

"United Way of Lancaster County is working hard to expand partnerships and leverage resources through grants that benefit our community."

|Janeen Maxwell
Director of Grants Development