By RICK KAZMER
United Way of the Southern Alleghenies
United Way of the Laurel Highlands and United Way of Blair County have merged as part of a strategic effort to leverage resources for maximum community impact in Blair, Cambria and Somerset Counties. The new organization is United Way of the Southern Alleghenies.
It’s a move geared to maximize the strengths of both organizations. Both United Ways already invest heavily in early childhood development, parental engagement, and essential health and human services. This news will allow the combined agency to focus on strategic growth, leveraging staffing synergies and regional grant-making, to expand programming in each county. The goal is to help more people through carefully identified, evidence-based programs.
“This union will provide for transformational programs for tens of thousands of families across Blair, Cambria and Somerset Counties. I am excited for our community, as we grow, united together, for lasting change,” Karen Struble Myers, President and CEO of the new organization, said.
Both agencies already help more than 60,000 people a year. This union will result in more lives being impacted. United Way’s Community Impact Model will be expanded into Blair County, leveraging volunteer panels to help identify priority needs, and to find the right programs to fund, or create, to meet them.
“Merging with our friends, colleagues, and neighbors at the United Way of the Laurel Highlands makes sense on many levels. Our missions, programs and community commitments are closely aligned. This move will allow us to increase our focus on impact work here in Blair County while devoting additional resources to the most pressing problems facing Blair County residents. We couldn’t ask for a better alignment and commitment between two organizations,” United Way of Blair County Board Chair Jessica Fisher said.
United together, we can provide for sustained growth in all three counties, with a continued focus on basic human needs, including heating assistance, food insecurity and mental health.
“The Board of the United Way of the Laurel Highlands is very pleased with the efforts of both United Way teams that made this new organization possible. We thank everyone involved for their hard work, dedication and diligence throughout the process. We look forward to continued success as this new United Way Agency serves our communities across the three counties,” Jeff Wood, Immediate Past Chair of the United Way of the Laurel Highlands, said.