MASON COUNTY — Though the United Way is a well known brand name, it’s not so well known in Mason County.
Will Holland, director of resources development for United Way of River Cities, hopes to change that perception.
Though based out of Huntington, United Way of the River Cities services Mason County as well as several other counties in the surrounding area. In Mason County it specifically helps fund the Mason County Homeless Shelter in Point Pleasant with a grant award of $12,000 annually.
Holland said there are other ways United Way benefits citizens of Mason County and that includes funding organizations which may be located outside of the county which also benefit residents who live here. For example, United Way funds The Healing Place in Huntington which is a drug rehabilitation facility for men. Also funded, Goodwill family counseling services which offers life skills courses to assist locals in finding jobs.
Holland said he hopes to generate more awareness of United Way in Mason County to allow more nonprofits to take advantage of the services it offers and to build ties with corporate partners which will help keep money that is already in the community not only stay in the community but go where it’s most needed.
“We want to allow the community to dictate to United Way what the most pressing needs in the area are and what we can do to help address those,” Holland said.
Each year, United Way of the River Cities has a fund raising goal of around $1 million - that money still stays in the area to fund nonprofits meeting basic needs as well as programs which are providing long term solutions to various issues. In addition, United Way funds various initiatives in the area, including but not limited to, an early education initiative which is currently under way at Cabell Huntington Hospital - an initiatve which will get off the ground at Pleasant Valley Hospital soon, Holland said.
Grant applications are due in April each year and this is the time of year where announcements for those grant awards are about to be made. Just who gets those grants is decided by a panel of volunteers, not the staff of United Way.
Other counties United Way of the River Cities serves includes Cabell, Wayne, Lincoln and even Lawrence County in Ohio.