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United Way partners announce Women Driving Philanthropy beneficiary


At a press conference today, the Erie Women’s Fund and United Way of Erie County announced Women Driving Philanthropy (WDP) will be held Monday, August 28 at Lawrence Park Golf Club. The two groups will partner for a third year to present the women-only golf tournament. The announcement included details regarding this year’s tournament, which will support the initiation of a comprehensive Pregnancy Recovery Center (PRC) in Erie.

The prevalence of opioid use among pregnant women has reached epidemic proportions in Erie. Nearly one-fourth (25%) of all babies admitted to Erie NICUs suffer from exposure to maternal use of opioids or other illicit substances. Also, Erie County has the highest number of births exposed to illegal drugs in the Commonwealth. These startling statistics underscore the need to ensure effective and comprehensive interventions are available in our community.

Pregnancy Recovery Centers serve pregnant women with substance abuse and addiction issues detrimental to the health of their babies, including opioid addiction. WDP organizers are excited to collaborate and continue their focus on addressing self-sufficiency by supporting the health of women and families in the Erie region.

A PRC will be an evidence based comprehensive program providing Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) services, behavior health counseling, social services and prenatal care and education to women during pregnancy, during the postpartum period and beyond. 

By streamlining access to services at the PRC, obstacles related to transportation and access to care will decrease. The approach to counseling will address the multifaceted issues women are facing which often lead to their substance use. Services at the PRC do not only address substance abuse but a mother’s issues related to trauma and abuse, co-occurring disorders, family issues, unhealthy relationship and health concerns.

“We look to building on the record of success by supporting a Pregnancy Recovery Center in the Erie region, that will address even more serious addiction issues impacting pregnant women and babies,” said Michelle Robertson, chair of the Women Driving Philanthropy Committee.

Last year’s Women Driving Philanthropy sold out and raised more than $35,000 to initiate the BABY & ME - Tobacco Free, an evidence-based program housed at the Erie County Department of Health for pregnant women in our community. BABY & ME – Tobacco Free is designed to help mothers with smoking cessation and staying tobacco free after giving birth.


In 2007, The Erie Community Foundation established the Erie Women's Fund a women-led donor advised fund devoted to Empowering Women and Families.


United Way of Erie County is working to improve community conditions and create opportunities for a better life for everyone. We mobilize people and organizations from across the community who bring the passion, resources and expertise needed to get things done. Thanks to the generous community support we receive, United Way helps improve the lives of one out of every three people in Erie County each year. Last year, more than 100,000 friends and neighbors in our region were touched by United Way. Additional information about United Way of Erie County programs and initiatives can be found at