Reesy Neff believes there are great women in York County, and she wants to help them get together to benefit the area.

"When like-minded women (work) together, they do great things in the community," said Neff, a retail executive for local Susquehanna Bank. "And they don't take long to get it done."

Neff is working with the United Way of York County to develop Women Living United, a giving society under the organization's umbrella.

So far, there are seven "ambassadors" or committeewomen involved -- including Neff -- to help recruit members and set up projects and events for WLU, she said.

The mission of the new women's group includes helping the United Way and its agencies improve people's quality of living through volunteerism, networking and philanthropy.

The group also will give women opportunities to demonstrate their power as role models, mentors and leaders, said Brent Toomey, the United Way's campaign director and WLU's staff partner.

"We hope women gain a way of working together to really make differences in our community, to learn from each other and from the experiences we have while working together," Toomey said.

Contributions: WLU membership is extended to women who currently contribute at least $500 annually to the United Way or commit to reach the $500-giving level within three years, Neff said.

"For the three-year step up program, a woman may be able to start off giving $100 the first year and step up her giving to $200 the next year," she said. "The goal is for them to continue to step up to give $500 annually."


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Susquehanna Bank, the title sponsor of Women Living United, has donated $5,000 to the group. The money will be used to help the group do projects and to hold free information events for members so they can focus on giving more of their dollars to the United Way, Neff said.

Event: The group's inaugural event, titled "Make this House a Home," is from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Jewish Community Center, 2000 Hollywood Drive in York Township.

During the event, the group will talk about its missions, recruit members and introduce its first project, which benefits Girls Residing Educating and Achieving Together or "GREAT," a local program that provides living space to female high school students while they complete their education and learn life and job skills.

The program is offered by the Crispus Attucks Association at 549 S. Duke St. in York City, where the organization plans to make the house available to students either in late December or early next year, said Carol Kauffman, the CA's community development director.

WLU will hold an open house event at the GREAT home from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 16. Attendees are asked to bring pantry and toiletry items to the house as donations, Neff said.

Commitment: WLU has made a year-long commitment to help GREAT participants through donations of needed items, mentoring and leadership efforts, she said.

Kauffman, also a WLU ambassador, said CA is honored that the women's group has chosen to help with the GREAT program.

"I think the women who decide to volunteer may be mentors and help guide young women in their education and career choices," she said. "Our goal is to help young women to survive and be contributing members of society. Women Living United will be wonderful guides for that process."

WLU members also will do other volunteer projects during the year with local girls and with United Way member agencies, Toomey said.

Neff said she hopes at least 200 women will join WLU within its first year. Initial work on the group started in August, she said.

Women Living United

Women Living United's inaugural event, titled "Make this House a Home," is from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the Jewish Community Center, 2000 Hollywood Drive in York Township.

The group will hold an open house for its "Make this House a Home" project from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 16, at 549 S. Duke St. in York City.

Attendees are asked to bring pantry and toiletry items to benefit high school-age girls staying at the house, which belongs to the Crispus Attucks Community Center.

To register for Women Living United events, visit the local United Way's website at www.unitedway-york.org/upcoming-events.

For information about WLU, visit its online page at www.unitedway-york.org/women-living-united.--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.