Sunday, June 25th, 2017

U.W. grant to help KinderKamp, Learning Center

Posted: Friday, May 27, 2016

Through the work of the Indiana Association of United Ways and the Lilly Endowment, Inc., the United Way of Huntington County has applied and received a UnitedIN16 grant. The Indiana Association of United Ways issues match-based grants to local United Ways to build and/or expand community impact strategies through either a campaign or impact incentive match formula. Support from Lilly Endowment, Inc. created this opportunity for United Ways and United Funds in Indiana to increase local giving and pursue community results. Results are seen across the state in areas of education, financial stability and/or health.

The grant, which was approved late last week, totals $65,500 – ten percent of the average of the last three years’ campaign fundraising totals. As a matching grant, it has the potential to raise $131,000, which will all be invested back into the community.

“Of the grant proposals received this year by IaUW, the United Way of Huntington County’s proposal was one of the best applications received,” said Maureen Noe, president and CEO of IaUW. “Their application was innovative, collaborative, met a strategic and targeted community needs both in education and financial stability and achieved the overall grant objectives. IaUW applauds the efforts of the Huntington County United Way and their leadership and looks forward seeing the intended results achieved.”

Interim Executive Director Adam Drummond has outlined the plan to focus on the areas of education and financial stability. “With the support of Lilly and IaUW, the $131,000 investment into our community affords us the opportunity to strategically implement work in kindergarten readiness, birth to five and support industries in Huntington with continued partnership of the Learning Center (LC),” Drummond said.

The first project funded by the grant is the expansion of the KinderKamp program across Huntington County schools. KinderKamp, which started in 2014, aims to help youngsters transition to a school environment, especially those who haven’t previously been in a classroom. After a successful few years, and with the help of the UnitedIN16 grant, this summer’s KinderKamp program will expand from Lincoln Elementary to also include Andrews Elementary, serving a total of 50 students. By 2018, four elementary schools in Huntington County will run KinderKamp in the summer.

Another educational project funded by the grant is the Birth to 5 Coalition to develop specific benchmarks for the community in education and marketing of the importance those first years of a child’s life. Research indicates the time between birth to five years old is a pivotal time that requires attention in order for a child to have educational success. The grant will allow United Way and its community partners to look at marketing Birth to 5, conduct a feasibility study, and provide additional support to parents of children under the age of five.

The project in the area of financial stability focuses on implementation of the Learning Center. The funds are allocated for marketing and program development at the LC. The LC aims to communicate with those who are seeking a career outside of high school to skill up, earn certifications and choose a high-wage skilled labor job, instead of taking an entry-level job with lower pay. A skilled labor workforce means better jobs and a better way of life for all.

“I believe the Learning Center (LC) is going to be an extremely important asset to this community in a variety of ways,” said Steve Kimmel, Learning Center Development Chair and Advisory Board leader. “First of all, students will have a facility where they can gain valuable skills and learn a trade to be more employable. The LC is also important for incumbent workers that are already employed, but would like to enhance their skills and work toward a better paying position.”

“We are so grateful to the United Way of Huntington County for bringing the UnitedIN16 grant to our attention,” Kimmel said. “To help the LC be more successful, we need to place a sign in front of our facility to showcase the school. The matching grant from the United Way will help us secure the funds and give us the opportunity to purchase that sign.”

The United Way will be reaching out to organizations and businesses interested in supporting the matching grant, but strongly encourages any and all interested in contributing to not hesitate. Contact Adam Drummond today by phone at (260) 356-6160 or email at interimdirector@huntingtonunitedway.com to express your interest.