United Way: A community partner for all seasons
This year is the 100th anniversary of our United Way of York County. What a tremendous achievement! What a milestone of serving our community for so many years and assisting neighbors in need who, over time, are then able help themselves.
United Way of York County targets your dollars to tackle the toughest issues facing our community in education, health and economic mobility: funding affordable and accessible high-quality child care; supporting basic needs, including housing and food; and connecting people in need of health, human services and economic stability to resources that can help through the statewide PA 211 helpline.
This 100th anniversary has special meaning to me, because my father’s 100th birthday would be Nov. 26, 2021. My Dad was born in Detroit in the same year that York community leaders started our United Way.
Reflecting on this coincidence, I have the perspective to think of all the transformative changes in the world during this past century, some terrible, but most truly wonderful. Challenges such as the Great Depression; food, housing and economic insecurity; World War II; the Holocaust; and the dislocation of people around the world.
But also, there was the emergence of the United States, freedom and equal opportunity, free enterprise, and economic growth for so many people, democracy and the rule of law, and amazing advances in health care and technology — just to name a few.
My dad and mom faced many of these challenges, born poor, with limited educational opportunities and the need to work very hard just to survive in the rural farming communities in Michigan and Tennessee where they were raised.
They overcame their challenges, moving to Allentown, Pennsylvania, after World War II, where Dad built a career with a small manufacturer, Air Products, and where my sister, my brother and I were born and grew up. From the start, my parents volunteered their time and talents and contributed what they could. Eventually they became economically successful and gave back to the community that gave so much to them, especially to the local United Way.
They taught me and led by example about the importance of volunteering and “paying it forward” in our community. Fortunately for my wife, Cindy, and me and our children, I received a job opportunity in York and York became our home.
In addition to these lessons, I learned that a contribution to United Way makes a difference in people’s lives when they need it most. The gift blesses the giver, the community, and the recipient many times over.
United Way of York County recognizes that money is hard-earned, and it is committed to serving as a good and reliable steward fully dedicated to the community.
Only United Way of York County and its partner agencies have the breadth and the depth to be a good neighbor throughout our community. Thousands of volunteers, partner agency employees, and contributors are a peaceful army for good.
Our United Way has a small but powerful staff led by our President Anne Druck. We have a dedicated board of directors, of which I am very proud to be a member, and outstanding volunteers who work with businesses and partner agencies to raise and allocate your contributions effectively and efficiently.
Cindy and I were happy to make an extra gift this year to celebrate the centennial of our United Way, in memory of our four parents.
Thank you for your support for United Way of York County. If you can, give an additional “United Way 100th birthday” gift … perhaps $100, or if you are already giving more than that, perhaps $1,000 or more. Any amount will be gratefully appreciated. You can be sure that the need is there, that United Way of York County is addressing that need, and that your gift will be well spent to support and empower thousands of neighbors and grow a better community.
Happy birthday, Dad, and happy birthday to United Way of York County.
— Tom Donley is a member of the United Way of York County Board of Directors.