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Agenda for Change

Agenda for Change 2019

United Way of Hancock County is committed to fighting for the health, education and financial stability of every individual in Hancock County.

Improving Lives

For more than a decade, UWHC has awarded grants to local nonprofit agencies providing programs with impactful and measurable outcomes. Measuring outcomes ensures dollars raised through annual campaigns are helping to create meaningful results in people’s lives.

Change the System to Address Community Issues

To improve on those outcomes, UWHC will fund catalytic projects recommended by local, stakeholder-led coalitions who have wrapped their arms around a community-identified issue. These projects will be developed and led by cross-sector stakeholders in continuous communication with a common agenda, shared measurements and mutually reinforcing activities. This system change approach to addressing complex social problems is referred to as collective impact.

Safety Net

UWHC has a strong history in our community of addressing crisis such as floods, fires or devastating storms. Stabilizing individuals and families during times of crisis is critical for households to thrive. Providing basic human needs such as food, shelter, and safety creates a solid platform from which all our neighbors can focus on long-term goals.

Funding programs with measurable results will continue, but we realize no single agency can solve complex social issues on their own. Funding initiatives that address root causes through collective impact practices will encourage collaboration and the co-creation of solutions for needle moving change.

Our mission and commitment to the community remain unchanged, and we will continue our mission to measurably improve people’s lives in Hancock County.

Giving the Hancock County Community a Voice

For more than 60 years, UWHC has conducted workplace campaigns to raise support for organizations and programs addressing the most pressing needs of our community. These needs are identified through surveys, community conversations, and county-wide assessments. 

Analysis of these input tools by local leadership led to the categorization of the collective voices into the following broad areas of concern:

  • Workforce Development
  • Mental Health and Substance Use
  • Housing
  • Safety and Abuse
  • Food Security
  • Literacy
  • Health
  • Transportation

Because more than one sector of a community impacts each issue, relying on a single entity to solve a systemic issue is unrealistic.

Better Together

The Center for Civic Engagement

To support local stakeholders in their collective effort to improve lives and change systems, UWHC has partnered with the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation and the University of Findlay to provide a neutral environment fostering collaboration and the co-creation of root-cause solutions.

The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) established in 2016 and housed at the University of Findlay’s College of Business and Student Life, supports a network of community partners to interconnect resources and address complex social issues

The CCE trains facilitators in a continuous improvement process to lead the coalition work and promote system-level thinking. Facilitators ask invested stakeholders to identify the challenge they are addressing, map its current state, gather data and envision the future state to identify service gaps and areas for improvement. This work leads to the co-creation of system-level solutions. The CCE also develops opportunities and support for coalitions in the areas of advocacy, measurement development, data collection, promotion, and more.

Having a singular entity dedicated to ensuring there’s a place for stakeholders to convene provides continuity, builds trust, and helps with the integration of efforts across coalitions. 

To learn more about the Center for Civic Engagement visit: or contact:

Leigh Esper, Executive Director
Phone: (419) 434-6051

To measurably improve people’s lives in Hancock County and promote system-level change, United Way of Hancock County responds to local needs through the distribution of campaign dollars to agencies and organizations serving our community.

There are three primary ways United Way of Hancock County categorizes its funding opportunities: 

  • Improving People’s Lives
  • Changing the System
  • Safety Net Services  

Improving People’s Lives funding is for current UWHC funded community partner agencies. This is a yearly grant opportunity and applicant organizations must be an approved nonprofit agency delivering programs and services to individuals living inside Hancock County. The approved applicant agencies program must align with the United Way World Wide pillars of Health, Education and Financial Stability and its outcomes should fall within those identified by UWHC. United Way of Hancock County believes in addressing system-level issues for greater long-term outcomes and understands the importance of serving the community need through impactful programming in the short-term. Where appropriate, partners are encouraged to become involved with a coalition impacting the system they work within. To learn more about local coalition activity, click here:

This opportunity is currently closed.

Changing the System funding is for initiatives exhibiting the conditions of a collective impact framework. Collective Impact initiatives are often designed by a collaboration of cross-sector stakeholders addressing a complex social issue. These stakeholders agree upon a common agenda, shared measurements, and mutually reinforcing activities. To bring the initiative vision to fruition and ensure sustainability, a backbone organization or structure is formed to guide the vision and strategy, support the aligned outcomes, establish and monitor the measurements, build public will, advance policy and mobilize funding. The backbone organization or one of the organizations involved with the initiative may act as the fiscal agent.

Changing the System grant opportunities will be open on a bi-annual basis and multi-year funding may be available based on the strength of the initiative design and anticipated outcomes. 

UWHC is actively seeking projects in the focus area of Financial Stability for Changing the System funding. The broad goals of the Financial Stability Initiative are: to provide the support and resources to improve workforce readiness and financial empowerment and ensure youth graduating from our school systems are prepared for a college and/or career path through youth investment. 

The Halt Hunger Initiative is UWHC’s pilot initiative funding opportunity stemming from a critical need in the community as assessed by local leadership in 2010. UWHC remains committed to organizations and programs dedicated to addressing the local food security system to ensure no one in Hancock County goes hungry. To learn more about the work supported through this funding opportunity, visit our website at

For more information about Changing the System funding, please contact:

Heather Heilman at

Based on community input, Safety Net Services funding is for agencies delivering direct services to Hancock County residents whose needs are immediate, critical and short-term. Funds are issued to the agency through a reimbursement process as outlined in a Service Delivery Agreement and/or a Memorandum of Understanding approved by UWHC and the agency.