Grantee submission by: Michael, Tukeva, President/CEO

How did the funding or non-monetary support you received from the Foundation impact your organization and/or the community?

The support Pocono Mountains United Way received from the Moses Taylor Foundation helped position us to be successful as we merged with Pocono Alliance and grew as an organization. This merger happened just in time to meet the increased demand that our community faced just one year later during the COVID-19 crisis. By merging and bringing together valuable institutional knowledge and ideas, we were able to serve our community quickly, efficiently, and effectively in a variety of ways.

During the pandemic, Pocono Mountains United Way raised over $217,000 to equip non-profits to respond to community needs as well as $145,000 in four days to support restaurant workers and their families when they found themselves suddenly without work hours due to lockdowns and public health guidelines.

The merger also helped Pocono Mountains United Way address housing issues in the area. When the Emergency Rental Assistance Program was created in 2021, funding was allocated for rental assistance, but it was up to state and local governments and non-profits to coordinate how to utilize the funds and program to best serve the community. Because the merger was completed efficiently, Pocono Mountains United Way was able to commit to setting up the local infrastructure for this program with the county and helped distribute over $13 million to aid over 4700 residents struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis.

Overall, the merger was designed to combine efforts, increase reach, enhance our community’s resources, and strengthen our collective impact in Monroe County. Since the merger, Pocono Mountains United Way has significantly scaled operations and now serves 1 out of 12 individuals in Monroe County.

Share a quote or anecdotal story from a client or employee of your organization that illustrates the impact of your work.

I want to share with you a story about one of our employees who took the initiative to start a new program during the COVID-19 crisis. The program has become award-winning in Pennsylvania and is being looked at by other non-profits and counties as a way to address evictions in their area.

Linda Paugh is the Eviction Mediator, and a special video was made for the award ceremony where she was highlighted for her work. The video includes an anecdotal story from one of the clients that Linda has helped. You can view that video here.

What do you most want the community to know about your work and/or what excites you most about the future of your organization?

We mobilize the caring power of community. We focus on people. We unite around the impact areas that mean the most to our community. We take action to improve the education, health, and financial mobility of everyone in our community.