The local United Ways of Summit County and Medina counties today announced that they had merged to become United Way of Summit and Medina. The merger, which took effect on July 1, follows extended discussions between the boards of the Summit County and Medina County United Ways, which began late last year.
“Our goal, as always, is to be good stewards of our donors’ generosity,” said Drew Liebrecht, former board chair-elect of United Way of Medina and newly appointed board member of United Way of Summit and Medina. “Our two organizations came together because of our shared focus on meaningful community impact, aligned with an ambitious strategic vision. This merger will allow us to better leverage our resources to benefit the children and families of Summit and Medina counties.”
Summit and Medina counties are closely intertwined economically. The merger will allow the new organization to coordinate a regional strategy for community impact, while continuing to address the differing needs of Summit and Medina county residents. Before the merger, United Way of Summit County was the largest single-county United Way in the country in terms of revenue.
“United Way remains committed to serving the residents of both Summit and Medina counties, especially as we respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit and Medina. “Summit and Medina share deep economic ties, and once we get through this crisis together, we will continue to ensure we build thriving communities.”
The newly merged nonprofit will maintain a physical presence in both counties, with headquarters in Downtown Akron and in Downtown Medina.
In 2017, United Way of Summit County announced its Bold Goals by 2025 – a set of four targets tied to key community statistics that have guided the organization’s impact work. Following the merger, United Way of Summit and Medina is committed to identifying similar Bold Goals for Medina County. And going forward, Medina County residents will have access to programs previously limited to Summit County residents, such as free financial coaching through the Akron Financial Empowerment Center – which offers appointments via phone – poverty simulation workshops and more. United Way of Summit and Medina will also provide 211 information and referral services for Medina County and has committed to dramatically expanding Medina’s Imagination Library program, which provides a monthly free book to children under the age of five. Summit County currently boasts the largest Imagination Library program in the State of Ohio.
“To overcome the complex challenges we face, be they pandemic recovery, financial disempowerment, or anything else, we need to tackle them at scale,” said Mullen. “Summit and Medina County residents have a lot in common, but most important is a sense of pride in our home and a dedication to doing what’s right for the people around us. I have every confidence that, working together, we can create a bright future for our shared community.”