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More United Way Initiatives

Your Dollars at Work 

United Way Initiative Projects

Pre-Kindergarten Partnership

The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation and United Way of Hancock County are joining forces to ensure that more children have access to pre-kindergarten in Hancock County. In November 2014, United Way board members approved a grant to be awarded in January of 2015 to serve children from low-income families in the Findlay City Schools. The funding allowed for two additional pre-kindergarten classes of 16 children. In May 2015, the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation awarded the Hancock County Educational Service Center and Findlay City Schools a one-year grant each to further expand the pre-kindergarten pilot project for children from low-income families. United Way of Hancock County matched the funding for the expansion.

The Hancock County Educational Service Center created a new pre-kindergarten classroom at Riverdale (serving up to 16 students) and offers 20 pre-kindergarten scholarships to students throughout the rest of the county. The intent was to provide equal opportunities to all families for their children to participate in a quality preschool program. These scholarships allow low-income families to send their children to preschool without any cost to the family.

Findlay City Schools created another pre-kindergarten classroom (one morning class and one afternoon class) serving up to 28 students at Washington Preschool. This was in addition to the pre-kindergarten classroom started through United Way funding in January 2015. The grants cover tuition, transportation, and lunch to the pre-kindergarten students.

The Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation provided grants totaling $179,000 that were awarded as follows: $35,016 to the Hancock County Educational Service Center; and $143,984 to the Findlay City Schools.

United Way of Hancock County provided grants totaling $159,000 that were awarded as follows: $35,016 to the Hancock County Educational Service Center; and $123,984 to Findlay City Schools.

In a few short months, the United Way funded program was showing results. Pre-kindergarten teachers were already seeing improvements in kindergarten readiness skills including dramatic increases in language skills, math skills, and socialization. The pilot pre-kindergarten class began in January 2015 with five students only naming 0-5 pictures in one minute. By April, seventeen students could name 21+ pictures. The typical peer class (not economically disadvantaged) began with zero children naming 0-5 pictures and four students in the 11-20 picture range. Twenty-eight out of thirty students named 21+ pictures in April. The data clearly indicates that students that are not economically disadvantaged enter school with a more extensive vocabulary. However, students in the pilot class showed significant growth in less than a four-month time frame. The pilot class also showed impressive gains in their math concepts. Eleven of twenty-one students mastered 16-20 items on the math assessment in April, which is an improvement from four students in January. Similar to the language assessment, the typical peer group entered pre-kindergarten with a greater knowledge of math concepts.

Center for Civic Engagement: Initiative infrastructure support

The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE), launched in December 2016, is funded in part by the United Way of Hancock County, The Findlay-Hancock Community Foundation and the University of Findlay where it is housed. The CCE supports a network of community partners within Findlay and Hancock County.

Community assessments identified concerns related to jobs, housing, mental health, substance abuse, transportation, food security, literacy, safety, and abuse. The CCE provides resources including facilitator training and facilitators to guide coalitions comprised of cross-sector stakeholders in addressing the identified issues toward collective impact strategies. CCE offers support through student-engaged activities such as creating surveys, logos, and other resources coalitions may need to address the issue on which they focus.

To educate yourself on the CCE and the coalitions, visit:

Raise the Bar Hancock County 

Raise the Bar is a partnership of education, business, social services, and community leaders focused on aligning the Hancock County (Ohio) learning system with the needs of the business community, to support economic growth and a high quality of life for the workforce in Findlay Hancock County.

Visit their website to learn more:

The Leader in Me – A program implemented by Raise the Bar Hancock County 

A whole school transformation program.

From the Raise the Bar website: The Leader in Me is an innovative program that teaches 21st-century leadership and life skills to students and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the principle that every child can be a leader. Based around Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the Leader in Me is being implemented into Findlay-Hancock County schools to serve as a foundation for building soft skills. Examples of some of the soft skills being taught through the Leader In Me include leadership, responsibility, accountability, problem-solving, adaptability, and teamwork.

The Leader in Me is also aligned with many national and state academic standards. The process teaches students the skills needed for academic success in any setting. These skills include critical thinking, goal setting, listening and speaking, self-directed learning, presentation-making and the ability to work in groups.

Click here to learn more.

Dolly Parton Imagination Library

A program of the Literacy Coalition of Hancock County.

The program provides a book once a month to the enrolled child’s home beginning at birth and ending on the child’s fifth birthday. Desired outcome is to improve reading scores as evaluated in the kindergarten readiness assessments.To learn more, visit: Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Annual Days of Caring - Week-long volunteer event to support local nonprofits

United Way of Hancock County coordinates the Days of Caring volunteer event each spring. United Way staff recruits teams of volunteers from local businesses and companies to contribute four hours a day helping local nonprofit organizations with projects they may not otherwise be able to complete. The 2015 Days of Caring resulted in 1,075 volunteers completing 375 projects for 30 local organizations. The volunteers worked a total of 4,300 hours, providing nonprofit organizations in Hancock County with labor worth $92,278. The dollar figure is based on the most recent Ohio volunteer hourly dollar value of $21.46 per hour. The dollar amount is provided by the Independent Sector, the leadership network for nonprofits, foundations, and corporations committed to advancing the common good.

Dial 2-1-1 Live Information and Referral Service

Dial 2-1-1 provides community members with a live information and referral specialist equipped to direct them to resources in our community to meet their needs. Our partnership with United Way of Greater Cleveland provides the 2-1-1 service by phone, live chat, and email. Common inquiries from community members in Hancock County include scheduling tax preparation assistance, seeking supplemental food, requesting assistance for utility payment and rent and locating emergency housing. To learn more click here.