PLATTSBURGH - The United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties Inc. has announced it will begin serving Franklin County.
The announcement was made in a press release from the nonprofit organization Oct. 19.
"This change will give our United Way a regional scope, which we think makes a lot of sense for our friends and neighbors throughout the North Country," stated the organization's executive director, John C. Bernardi.
In September, United Way Worldwide requested the United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties include Franklin County in its service area, a request which the board of directors ultimately decided to honor.
Karen Carre, board president of the former United Way of Franklin County, is supportive of the change.
"The people in Franklin County are very generous and a regional approach to the United Way system will be more sustainable," stated Carre. "Our organization will undergo a corporate name change and re-emerge as 'The Good Neighbor,' allowing for the continuation of collaborative efforts to improve the quality of life in our region. We anticipate working closely with United Way and other programs and organizations across the North Country."
Officials and volunteers from the United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties are currently developing strategies to expand into Franklin County and to bring the three counties together through a United Way network of programs, services and partnerships. Bernardi said the North Country 2-1-1 information and referral system is an excellent example of this and his steering committee is comprised of representatives from throughout the region.
"Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties make up a natural region and we are connected in so many ways as friends, neighbors and partners," he stated. "Our United Way will continue to be a great vehicle for bringing people together for the overall benefit of the North Country community."
United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties has 33 partner agencies including several that already serve Franklin County. The health and human service organizations receive United Way funding to provide specific services based on community needs and their ability to achieve effective outcomes. The organization also coordinates a wide variety of programs including, 2-1-1 Information and Referral, Earned Income Tax Credit, Gifts in Kind and Disaster Preparedness.
Last year, the organization raised more than $700,000 dollars during its annual campaign.
"To be able to raise that much money during difficult economic times is a testament to the generous and caring nature of the people in the North Country," said Sue LeBlanc, current board president of the United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties.
United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties will modify its name to reflect the addition of Franklin County and is also exploring additional office presence to facilitate a regional approach to services and programs in all three counties.