By MORGAN MANNS
A community of caring hearts is the backbone of United Way of Fostoria’s success.
Campaign chairperson Autumn Clouse told those gathered Monday for the organization’s annual meeting the 2013 campaign garnered 96 percent of its $189,000 goal, allocating more than $181,000 with more than 1,000 donors.
“That’s still a very dedicated community that we have here,” she said. “It’s something to be proud of.”
United Way of Fostoria has raised $16.4 million since 1957.
The 2013 campaign theme was “Caring Hearts Build a Community.” Clouse said the board stressed the focus on the heart to give an extra push for the community to get involved.
With a little help from the board and the Budgets and Admissions Committee, United Way of Fostoria allocated $208,989.25 to its 13 agencies this year.
For the 2013 campaign year, the United Way was able to allocate $35,000 to the Fostoria Alcohol and Drug Center; $8,000 to Black Swamp Area Council Boys Scouts; $10,000 to Campfire Northwest Ohio; $18,000 to DayBreak of Fostoria; $20,300 to First Step; $5,000 to Girl Scouts of Western Ohio; $25,000 to Fostoria Area Habitat for Humanity; $6,000 PatchWorks House; $20,000 to the American Red Cross of Hancock, Fostoria/Seneca, Wyandot counties; $12,000 to SCAT (Seneca County Agency Transportation); $10,000 to Fostoria Senior Citizens Center; $35,000 to Geary Family YMCA; and $4,689.25 in designations to Community Hospice Care.
Board President Susan Goodman presented Clouse with an award for her two years of service as chairperson.
Clouse announced she will not be coming back as the campaign chair for 2014. Mike Foss, 2013 campaign co-chair, will replace her.
Amie Hathaway was nominated as president of the 2014 United Way board, while Heather Schuld was selected as the vice president. Hathaway, former board vice president, will replace Goodman and Schuld replaces Hathaway. Goodman will continue to be a member of the board.
No nominations were made for the treasurer’s position, replacing Charles Hall who retired as a public trustee. It will be brought up again at the March meeting.
Tim Hoover also retired as a public trustee.
Kristie Pohlman was approved as a new public trustee. She is a marketing specialist at the University of Findlay.
Jan Levenhagen of the American Red Cross retired as an agency trustee; Aurie Hoover’s term as a public trustee was renewed; and Larry Nester replaced Bernie Dickson as a trustee for the Fostoria Area Habitat for Humanity.
Goodman read a quote from Marla Gibbs that she said she felt strongly reflected the mission of the United Way of Fostoria.
It read, “In my life I’ve learned that true happiness comes from giving. Helping others along the way makes you evaluate who you are. I think that love is what we’re all searching for. I haven’t come across a person yet, anyone who didn’t become a better person through love.”
“We truly are doing so many wonderful things within our community and the agencies are really stepping up to create the things that we’re looking to do with the pillars of the United Way,” Goodman said. “We’re really glad that we’re making these things happen in our community.”
Chris Lewis, camp director at Campfire Northwest Ohio, was the guest speaker at the meeting conducted in the lower level of Good Shepherd Home. His speech focused on the ways Campfire has evolved over the years in helping youth grow, team building and leadership development.
Campfire Northwest Ohio recently implemented a program called Step it Up to Thrive, which targets the theory of change as a developmental asset.
“The theory of thrive is a methodology by which we help kids go from just surviving to thriving,” Lewis said.
He explained it starts with a growth mindset of how individuals perceive something, why didn’t that thing work, and what they can do to fix it, as opposed to a fixed mindset where the individual looks at a situation the same way every time.
“I tried that. “¦ If I do it this way next time, I’ll get a different result. Maybe it’ll be better, maybe it won’t be. But I won’t keep doing the same thing over and over and over,” he said.
Campfire Northwest Ohio has used this tool in various aspects of their organization. One activity included having the kids build paper airplanes in a specific way. When that didn’t work well, they told the kids to set goals for themselves to find the problem and try something differently. Afterwards, they reflected on what they did to fix the problem.
“As you reflect on what you’ve just done, you make it real,” Lewis said. “By making it real and by applying it in a day-to-day fashion, the kids can then go back. “¦ They’re using these strategies in a positive way to go from surviving to thriving.”
Representatives from Geary Family YMCA, Fostoria Area Habitat for Humanity, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, Fostoria Senior Citizen Center, Black Swamp Area Council Boy Scouts, American Red Cross and Community Hospice Center were also present, as well as members of the 2014 board and one member of the Budget and Admissions Committee.
Also during the meeting, an unaudited financial summary for 2013 was approved. United Way began the year with $139,472.86 and ended the year with $135,505.01, with a total income of $245,517.58 and disbursements totaling $249,485.43.
Goodman thanked Executive Director Ashley Stahl for her work taking on the dual job description of administrative assistant and executive director, as well as congratulated her on her one-year anniversary with the United Way.
In return, Stahl presented Goodman with an award for her service as board president and as a “token of gratitude” and a “symbol of the impact” she has had.
“Her experience and longevity with the United Way has truly been instrumental on our board, and something that’s invaluable to our overall mission of the organization,” Stahl said. “For me personally, the assistance and guidance she has provided me over my first year has been priceless and I’m extremely grateful for that.”
“The past two years have been quite a roller coaster for the United Way,” Goodman said. “I’ve enjoyed it. I can’t say it’s always been easy, but it’s like everything else; it’s worth while. What we come up with and what we achieve when it’s all said and done is worth every minute.”