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The Philly and North Penn chapters of United Way have joined forces

Live United. July 13, 2017 Category: FeatureFeaturedMediumResults
United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ), the regional nonprofit that was formed in 2012 from the merging of seven local United Way chapters, just got a bit larger.

Made effective July 1, North Penn United Way (NPUW), which served the North Penn and Indian Valley communities, joined UWGPSNJ to be a part of the combined regional effort in ending intergenerational poverty in what is now the nine counties the organization serves.

According to the announcement, merger discussions between NPUW and UWGPSNJ took more than a year and were led by a design team of staff and volunteers who made sure the decision would be setting up the organization for “long-term success.”

One notable aspect of this merger is that Montgomery County will now be served by one collective entity, something Jim Cawley, president and CEO of UWGPSNJ, described in a recent blog post as the “final piece to completing our regional footprint for the organization.”

But those who have been previously involved with NPUW — local businesses, volunteers, nonprofit partners and community leaders — may be worrying about whether or not the local impact that’s been sowed since NPUW’s founding in 1945 will taper in the coming years.

(In her end-of-the-year reflection, Nadya Shmavonian, executive director of the Nonprofit Repositioning Fund, refers to a quote from funder Sara McCullough on the importance of a collaborative vision when it comes to mergers like the one UWGPSNJ had in 2012: “Without something to aspire toward, sometimes the loss pulls at the respective parties and wears folks out, puts up one too many barriers or starts to make folks question what the win is.”)

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To that concern, UWGPSNJ leadership issued two sorts of responses via a morning interview with WNPV 1440 radio yesterday.

One, John Emge, vice president and regional executive director, touched on how this merger will bring about an “impact framework” that may end up bringing more resources and aid to areas like North Penn.

“To put our money where our mouth is, in this new way of doing things, we are going to be overlaying all of our investments in the communities that we serve based on the poverty levels of those communities,” Emge said. “So as a result, there’s actually more coming to the suburban regions outside of Philadelphia than there was before.”

And two, there will be two North Penn representatives joining UWGPSNJ’s regional board of directors: former NPUW board members Jack Dooley, partner at Dischell Bartle Dooley, and Chari Richardson, president of TRC Staffing. A local board for Montgomery County will also be launched, which the press release states will be “comprised of local leaders from the business, nonprofit, and public sectors to oversee local investments and support local and regional fundraising efforts.”

When asked in the same interview session with WNPV radio why this merger seemed like a good idea, Dooley mentioned it was a unanimous decision by the NPUW board.

“I think it’s an opportunity for the success that we’ve had at [NPUW], for us to grow that success and to the county,” Richardson added.

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