Non-profits connect communities to resources

By Heather Meade hmeade@civitasmedia.com

May 12, 2014

DARKE COUNTY - Darke County is rich in non-profit agencies reaching out to help residents; the United Way houses 28 non-profit organizations alone, said Lauren Henry, executive director. Governor John Kasich has proclaimed this week (May 11-17) as Ohio Nonprofit Awareness and Appreciation Week.

The non-profit sector makes up 9.8 percent of Ohio’s workforce, the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations (OANO) reported, with more than 480,000 employed by non-profits, making it the fourth largest industry in the state.

“Ohio Nonprofit Awareness and Appreciation Week will celebrate this integral and diverse industry that works hard to improve the quality of life of all Ohioans,” an OANO representative stated.

Ohio nonprofits approach a large range of issues, from arts and culture to education, healthcare, social services, research and planning, the environment and more, OANO stated. These organizations save taxpayers millions of dollars each year through their services, and they contribute to the high quality of life of Ohio citizens, OANO added.

Lynne Gump, executive director of the American Red Cross - Darke County Chapter, explained that as a non-profit, having a physical location in Greenville has been immeasurably beneficial.

“Not every community has a physical Red Cross presence,” Gump explained. “It’s a place for volunteers to train, it’s a place to connect, it’s a place to start,” she continued. “It’s also a place where we can offer our services - whether it’s a new military family, or a CPR/First Aid class - having a physical presence gives us a way to meet our disaster clients.”

A physical space wouldn’t be possible without the donation of their office space from Wayne HealthCare, Gump noted.

“We can do what we do without a physical presence,” Gump noted. “But it’s not perceived the same. We were thrilled when Wayne HealthCare donated our office space, it meant we got to have a physical presence without a lot of cost…that’s why, in a community this size, we can have a physical presence, through our donor support.”

The American Red Cross - Darke County Chapter is one of the Darke County United Way’s 28 non-profit partners, benefiting from the fundraising efforts of the United Way, Henry reported.

“The United Way connects those Darke County residents that need assistance with the right programs in the community,” Henry stated. “A lot of these programs work hard on social services every day to serve our residents in their time of need. We help with the fundraising process, we make sure they have a steady flow of support so they can continue to serve as many as possible. We want to be there for children and families who don’t have enough food on the table to make it through the weekend. We want to serve our cancer patients in their time of need…We’re here to serve our community.”

Not only do the 28 nonprofit partners of the United Way serve children and cancer patients, they’re working to serve veterans, the elderly, the homeless, education and community among others. To learn more, visit www.DarkeCountyUnitedWay.org.