The latest on what we're up to, most proud of, and inspired by.

edison game night

Edison Family Game Night emphasizes attendance

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Tuesday Nov 17th, 2020

In an effort to engage with families virtually, the team at Edison launched their first-ever virtual game night for families made possible with United Way of Erie County funding.

Check out the Edison Elementary Facebook page for all the details from Game Night!

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MIRROR program powers on at community schools

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Tuesday Nov 17th, 2020

The International Institute's MIRROR program, funded by United Way, had to adapt quite quickly amidst COVID as normally the program would have been implemented in person for families in need at community schools Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary and McKinley Elementary. 

The MIRROR program was created to address the complex, diverse, and interconnected needs of refugee youth – as they cope with acculturation stress or childhood trauma, as they transition into the US school system, and as they adapt to resettled life in Erie, PA. The MIRROR program was created to support teachers and school staff who “may feel ill-equipped to address the student’s need(s).” The MIRROR program was created to focus on “the challenges associated with trauma that impede English Language Learners’ ability to achieve academic success.” MIRROR programming is meant to include monthly assessments, supportive case management, streamlined referrals, group parenting and youth workshops, and interpretation support.

Winter Gear for EVES Students

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Monday Nov 16th, 2020

Community School Director, Tammy Rader was recently able to organize a Winter Gear Drive for students at Elk Valley Elementary. In addition to students and their families being able to pick up donated winter items, the Giving Pantry was also opened for families who could come in take things as needed. Special thanks to community school corporate partner Bonnell's Auto Group who purchased one of every item on the EVES Winter Gear Amazon Wish list which was a huge help! In total more than 30 families received assistance through this effort!

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Fall Fitness with the Y at Harding

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Monday Nov 16th, 2020

The YMCA of Greater Erie serves as the lead partner at Harding Elementary, a United Way community school. As lead partner, the Y recently put one of their greatest resources into action for the teachers and staff at Harding. Fall Fitness was implemented for the first time this year and provided teachers and staff at Harding with the opportunity to unwind and focus on self-care.

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Community Schools Volunteer Spotlight: Shia Knight

Monday Nov 16th, 2020

Shia Knight is an 11 year-old Luther Memorial student who was in need of completing community service hours over the summer. That's when Shia's mom Kelina, who is the East Middle School secretary, reached out to Rachel Pierce community school director. Kelina and Shia were looking for opportunities to give back to East and Rachel knew just the way to have Shia help!

Shia participated in East's Random Acts of Kindness campaign from home, writing 150 postcards with positive messaging to be sent to East students who were identified as being in need of encouragement in what we all know are very challenging times - especially for students!

This was the first time Rachel had engaged with a volunteer remotely and it was a huge success! Students will receive these post cards this year to help encourage them to continue to engage in learning as well as remind them that the East family is still there for them while virtual learning and the pandemic continues.

Diehl MU Bags

Mercyhurst aids Diehl with bags

Monday Nov 16th, 2020

Mercyhurst University serves as the lead partner to Diehl Elementary, a United Way community school. Recently, Mercyhurst's campus ministry team joined together to make Halloween take and make kits for kindergarten - second grade students at Diehl.


Free Thanksgiving Meals in Erie County 2020

Thursday Nov 12th, 2020

Updated list of free Thanksgiving meals provided in Erie County this year.

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United Way Seeks Volunteer Tax Preparers for 2021 Erie FREE Taxes Filing Season

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Monday Nov 9th, 2020

United Way of Erie County’s Erie FREE Taxes program is in urgent need of community members interested in becoming IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers for the 2021 tax filing season. 

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Q & A with Julie Chacona, United Way Director of Major Gifts

Monday Oct 19th, 2020

Earlier this month, United Way announced the hiring of Julie Chacona as Director of Major Gifts. Learn more about Julie in this Q&A.

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United Way announces Julie Chacona as Director of Major Gifts

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Monday Oct 5th, 2020


United Way of Erie County is pleased to announce the hiring of Julie Chacona as Director of Major Gifts. Julie is an Erie native and has a rich history of service to the community. She earned Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism with a double minor in Fine Arts and Economics from Boston College and holds fundraising certificates from Indiana University Lilly School of Fundraising.

5.18.2020 we are here for the snacks



Tuesday Sep 29th, 2020

United Way of Erie County has announced a $2,500 grant to Sisters of Saint Joseph Neighborhood Network to support their efforts to address food insecurity for City of Erie residents. The funds will be used to offset costs associated with the organization’s Little Italy Farmer’s Market and the neighborhood soup kitchen held over the summer. 

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Volunteer Tax Preparers Needed

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Monday Sep 14th, 2020

Are you interested in helping tax fliers in our community without it costing a fortune? If you could, would you give them the chance to save for a future emergency fund or their child's education?

When volunteering with Erie FREE Taxes, a program funded through United Way of Erie County, you are giving community members a better chance to succeed and save, rather than spend, when it comes to their taxes!

Through our FREE provided training, you are able to become an official IRS-certified tax filer. No experience is needed. During this time, it's more crucial than ever to help our community where we can. Register to support our community today!

Check out our updated Erie FREE Taxes web page to find out how you can help or follow the volunteer registration form here:

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2019 Erie FREE Taxes Report

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Wednesday Sep 9th, 2020

Since the ending of the 2019 tax season in July, United Way's Erie FREE Taxes program has calculated a total of $99 million in federal tax refunds since its start in 2007. Erie FREE Taxes provides assistance to eligible individuals with filing their taxes. Through this program, tax filers are able to obtain the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). To date, over 21,000 EITC have been claimed, resulting in over $38 million in EITC returns. 

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United Way Announces 2020 Tocqueville Award Recipient

Thursday Sep 3rd, 2020

This years award goes to... Robin Scheppner!

Award presentation and honorary reception to be celebrated in 2021.

Reopening information for Erie County families

Wednesday Sep 2nd, 2020

As summer draws to an end, it's time to get back into the school routine. This year, United Way community schools will "open their doors" in a partial or full virtual setting. We know this transition can be confusing for most and United Way of Erie County is here to help! 



CARES Act Offers Tax Deduction

CARES Act COVID-19 tax incentives

Tuesday Aug 25th, 2020

Earlier this year, Congress enacted the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security) to help citizens financially recover during the pandemic. This act enables 120 million Americans to deduct up to $300 worth of donations to charities from their taxes they file in 2020!

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Harvest Season at Community Schools

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Monday Aug 24th, 2020

We’re fast approaching harvest season! This means all 14 of our community school gardens are filled with full grown, healthy, and delicious produce for families to pick up and enjoy. Usually this produce would go towards the kid’s school lunches, but since we are virtually learning this fall, this produce needs to find a new home... in your kitchen!

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United Way announces move to former Wayne School Building

Thursday Jul 30th, 2020

WE’RE MOVING! United Way of Erie County is pleased to announce we will be moving our offices to the second floor of the former Wayne School building located at 650 East Avenue.

The move aligns seamlessly with United Way’s collective impact strategy and laser focus on education as the organization will now be co-located with Erie Center for Arts and Technology along with other valued impact partners and neighbors to East Middle School, a United Way community school.

The move is expected to be completed in Spring 2021.
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United Way announces $2M U.S. Department of Education Grant to Boost Community Schools

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Tuesday Jul 28th, 2020

United Way of Erie County along with representatives from partners Erie’s Public Schools, Gannon University and UPMC Western Behavioral Health at Safe Harbor announced the details of a recent grant award from the U.S. Department of Education. This grant, the largest single award to United Way in the organization’s 105-year history, will further support United Way’s community schools initiative aimed at removing barriers to learning so students and their families can succeed. The federal grant will total $2,031,397 over the course of a five-year grant period. The amount is 27.5% of the total costs of the project. 72.5% of the total costs of the project will be financed by non-governmental sources.

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United Way funds 19 neighborhood organization projects totaling $14,000

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Monday Jul 6th, 2020

United Way is pleased to announce the funding of 19 neighborhood organization projects totaling $14,000 in mini-grants.