United Way focus to emphasize community, fundraising

Jul 22, 2020 | Featured | 0 comments

United Way in Ottawa County (UWOC) has announced the hiring of Jessica Singerling as manager of donor relations, and promoted April Schalk to office manager. UWOC Interim Director Alison Lanza Falls has become a member of the Advisory Board.

“In my time with United Way, it became clear our office needed a greater focus in some areas,” said Falls. “First and foremost, a successful nonprofit has to prioritize the interests and needs of the community. You also must clearly communicate the work of your organization, be a strong fundraiser and implement new strategies.

“That’s where we must direct our attention moving forward. In order to do those things, we cannot rely on one person, or one director.

“It has to be a team,” emphasized Falls.

“We are proud of all we have accomplished last year, but we are really going to have to pull together as a community to help each other,” said Singerling. “April and I are really excited to team up as representatives of United Way to make this happen.”

In Ottawa County the United Way is challenged by a rising unemployment rate, with rent and utility assistance requests jumping 25%. Unemployment assistance for many is ending, and utility companies will soon begin cutting off service.

UWOC specifically works in areas of education, financial stability and health, investing $176,950 this funding year in nine key programs within five Ottawa County agencies.

Additionally, dollars are used to support United Way run programs, such as United Way 2-1-1, volunteer mobilization efforts and new solutions like Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s Imagination Library, which delivers a free book each month to children who are five and younger.

The 2-1-1 line was launched by United Way earlier this year, and 558 families were helped. A total of 1,312 families were helped with financial stability programs, 776 people received assistance with health and human services programming and 923 children were helped by educational programs.

“When you donate to United Way in Ottawa County, you are making a direct, positive impact on kids and families in your community,” said Wendy Pestrue, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Toledo, which serves Ottawa, Lucas and Wood counties.

“It is exciting to welcome someone new who can assist in fundraising and communications, as well as promote an employee who can strengthen local programming,” said Pestrue. “I am confident (Singerling and Schalk) and our committed volunteers will continue the powerful work happening in Ottawa County and help make United Way a better, stronger organization.”

Singerling brings more than 18 years of nonprofit and for-profit experience from positions in Indianapolis, Cleveland, Washington D.C. and Alexandria, Va. Her specific expertise focuses on marketing, partnership development and increased revenue growth. Singerling has spend her summers in Ottawa County since the mid-70s, relocating to the area in 2019.

Schalk has worked with the UWOC office for six years. She founded Summer Lunch & Fun, manages the Head-to-Toe Pantry and coordinates the Portage Resale Voucher & Gard Card Program. Schalk will continue to serve as liaison to community boards and help bolster health and human services.

“Many people are not aware we fund and run very high-impact programs,” said Chairman Ed Carlson of the UWOC Advisory Board. To receive UWOC updates, subscribe to its newsletter by email: april.schalk@unitedwayottawacounty.org.

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