United Way of Roanoke Valley and United Way of Franklin County have announced that they will be combining their efforts by regionalizing their operations. By combining, and thus regionalizing, both United Ways will continue to improve lives and strengthen communities across Roanoke, Salem, Vinton, Botetourt, Craig and Franklin County.
The joined union will be uniquely positioned to work with community leaders, businesses, policymakers, nonprofits and individuals to affect change on a scale that was previously unattainable. “When Franklin County approached us we knew this would be a great opportunity for both communities. One of our fundamental principles at United Way is the notion that together we are greater than the sum of our parts,” said Afira DeVries CEO of United Way of Roanoke Valley, who will lead the combined organization. “We are all stronger when we create change together.”
With over 46,000 households living on the brink of poverty across the newly merged area, United Way will strive to grow its efforts in improving self-sufficiency for residents across the region.
“I fully support this merger because the more we all collaborate, build efficiencies and coordinate resources, the better we can serve people and families here in Franklin County,” said Roy Enslow, chair of the United Way of Franklin County board of directors.
The combined entity will replicate and scale successful programs in both regions to become an even greater force in the fight against poverty. For example, both organizations facilitate a health-based initiative (Healthy Roanoke Valley/Healthy Franklin County) that works with local leaders to improve the health of their community.
United Way of Roanoke Valley also currently works to foster a rich learning environment in 19 early childhood education classrooms across Franklin County in addition to their Roanoke Valley sites. By joining forces United Way hopes to collaborate and coordinate resources to better serve both communities.
The new organization plans to continue to maintain a staff presence in Franklin County and engage Franklin County community leaders in funding decisions. As always, United Way is committed to honoring the intent of donors and fulfilling commitments to funded partners, ensuring that funds raised to support each community will remain in their respective communities, and the dollars will go farther based on newfound efficiencies.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to harness the potential of two great organizations, so that we can improve lives in each community,” said Susan Campbell, chair of the United Way of Roanoke Valley board of directors.
The combined organization, which will draw from the talent of the corporate, nonprofit and public sectors of both geographic areas, will provide businesses, their employees and others with opportunities to join a network dedicated to building a better life and a stronger community—for everyone.