Diehl Elementary's Coalition of Corporate Partners

Thursday Mar 23rd, 2023

Thanks to the generosity of United Way's corporate and funding partners, together, we are making a transformational impact in the lives of students and their families throughout Erie County.

United Way corporate and funding partners commit to financial support for a minimum three-year cycle, may designate a champion to serve as liaison to their community school and promotes employee volunteer opportunities as available.

We know the business community understands that when children fall behind in school the consequences create a ripple effect. Students who fall behind are graduating without the skills necessary to support workforce needs. This results in an increased burden on taxpayers and our social service system; increased involvement in the juvenile justice system; increased trauma and delinquency to name just a few. 

Through the community schools model and thanks to our supporters, United Way is able to tackle these problems head on by bringing resources into public school buildings that address and remove specific nonacademic barriers to learning such chronic absenteeism, truancy, student walking safety, lack of family engagement, mental and behavioral health challenges and a disruptive school culture to name just a few. 

And more importantly, a corporate and funding partner investment sparks additional financial resources funneling into a community school. In fact, a $75,000 annual investment is the catalyst for more than $1.6 million in added programs and services made possible because of United Way’s Community Schools Model being in place. 

Over the next few months, we will highlight United Way's dozens of corporate and funding partners in editions of the Weekly INBrief. In this issue, we are focusing on Diehl Elementary’s Coalition of Corporate Partners which include Accudyn Products, Inc., American Tinning and Galvanizing, Custom Engineering, Lincoln Recycling, Reddog Industries, Smith Provision Company, Inc., and Team Hardinger.

Here is a brief Q and A with Jeremy Lincoln (JL), Vice President, Lincoln Recycling, Bill Hilbert (BH), Jr., President, Reddog Industries, David Bertges (DB), Finance and HR Manager, American Tinning and Galvanizing and Peg Bly (PB), Founder and Chair of the Board of Accudyn Products. 

Why did you commit to investing in the Diehl Elementary Community School strategy? 

JL-- Jim Ohrn’s (Custom Engineering) force of will. He laid out all the basics, but it was his passion for the project that got me excited. The point is there are lots of people that are magnetic and bring others in. He opened the door for us at Lincoln Recycling to realize how important this is, the need, but more importantly the tangible results. 

BH-- Reddog Industries is honored to support Diehl due to the fact community schools become places where resources from the community are used to improve student success, offering programs that focus on health and social services for students and their families, services are brought right into the school. 

DB-- Because it is a proven model to enhance public education by removing the barriers all children face when they come to school. The fact that it’s individualized for each school (community) means youth in a particular neighborhood are getting resources based on their needs. It also engages the whole family which creates more security and comfort for the kids. 

PB-- Accudyn was drawn to the community school strategy at Diehl because of the unique vision developed by United Way to address the needs of the students and provide the opportunity for children to succeed. Having Diehl's community school director Karen Donnelly on-site who is actively engaged every day with students and faculty, Lead Partner Mercyhurst University, and the corporate partner coalition gave us complete confidence in the success of the model. Community schools have also provided the opportunity for Accudyn to partner with the other coalition members who share our values and together, make a bigger impact for Diehl students and our community. Accudyn is a diverse company with employees from many different backgrounds and we’re proud to be a part of the coalition. We are committed long term to the United Way's community schools strategy and providing Diehl students with the resources they need to be the future of Erie County!

How does investing upstream, in our most precious human capital, align with your corporate philosophy to help level the playing field so all children may achieve academically, thus opening doors to unlimited opportunities? 

JL-- People like to complain about a lot of things that are wrong. This is an opportunity to invest in Erie’s people and families of the future. Our corporate philosophy is to be successful financially first. We need a vibrant economy and community first. So maybe we are not as altruistic as might appear. This is a long-term any company should make. 

BH-- Everyone’s goal is to see young people succeed; our goal is to be sure they know they can. We are there to support that and we are keenly aware young people will be the ones to lead us forward. We want to be sure all resources are used to make sure that happens successfully. 

DB-- ATG’s philanthropy is focused on helping women and children in poverty. United Way’s mission is to Crush Poverty. A perfect alignment of giving back to help our community!

PB-- Giving back and enriching our community through investment and service are core values at Accudyn. There’s no better way to advance our community than by investing in the success of our children It’s cliché but true, children are our future, and we believe every child, regardless of their background, deserves an equal opportunity to succeed and pursue their passions. This success begins with access to a good education and support from a community who genuinely believes in their potential and invests in their future by ensuring each student has the resources necessary to thrive. We have always identified access to educational resources as a need in Erie County and began investing early in our company’s history by supporting organizations committed to education improvement and through creation of the Accudyn Scholarship for high school graduates seeking further education. We were drawn to United Way's community school strategy because it provided an opportunity to make an impact even earlier in the development of an educated and effective workforce which will be critical to not just Accudyn’s future success but the future success of Erie County as a whole.