Promoting tools for independence
We’re fighting to put every person in our community on a path toward financial empowerment. That starts with access to childcare and low-cost transportation, workforce development programs, technology and personal economics training, mentoring, fair housing opportunities and strong community partnerships. It ends with breaking the generational cycle of poverty and financial strife.
That's where our Financial Stability Initiative comes into play.
United Way of Hancock County's Financial Stability Initiative is comprised of three pillars: personal income stabilization; financial education; and collaboration and strategic partnerships.
Personal income stabilization
The United Way of Hancock County also manages the local VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program, which provides free tax preparation services for income-eligible residents. During the 2023 season, a team of volunteers donated 1,200 hours to file over 1,500 state and federal tax returns for Hancock County residents. The effort generated over $1 million in impact and will be expanded upon in years to come.
Understanding that transportation, education and training are at the heart of workforce development, we partner with HATS to provide free and low-cost transportation to work, medical appointments and more; and Raise the Bar to promote an adaptive workforce to meet Hancock County's emerging employment needs.
We have coordinated with the Hancock County Farmers' Market and the Hancock County OSU Extension Office to facilitate SNAP usage at the farmers' market. This is a win for the entrepreneurs at the market, and empowers individuals to use their grocery money on fresh offerings.
With the recent end to emergency SNAP benefits, we are fortunate to be able to help stretch the market's nutritious offerings through Produce Perks, a one to one match of SNAP dollars spent on produce items at the farmers' market.
Putting first things first
United Way of Hancock County is proud to collaborate with Raise the Bar in its efforts to align K-12 students, career tech and higher education with the community's current workforce needs. We also support relevant job training programs that upskill the current labor force.
We are also working with our local Financial Opportunities Center to launch a cooperative effort to mentor local employees on good financial habits and positive economic choices over their lunchtime hour.
We continue to expand our network and to facilitate creative ways to deliver engaging education with our partners.
Goal #2: Participate in local workforce development efforts, mentoring employees on good financial habits and positive economic choices. We are adding local businesses to our mentoring queue annually.