United Way partners with Denison

MAT SCOTT

News Editor

Faculty and staff are partnering with local non-profits to implement a plan called  the Community Blueprint, designed to move Licking County forward  regarding  social needs.

  The Blueprint was designed by Deb Dingus, the executive director of the United Way in Licking County.

Professors Gina Dow, director of the Alford Center, and Emily Nemeth were also involved with the creation of the Blueprint.

The Community Blueprint is a United Way Worldwide tool used to assess community needs and assets. According to Leigh Ann Miller, funds director for United Way of Licking County, the process leads communities in collaborative efforts identifying strengths and priorities with the ultimate goal of achieving measurable social change.

Miller said that the last Community Blueprint was completed in 2007. Data was collected from 509 resident surveys, 144 direct service recipient surveys and five focus discussion groups throughout the country. The data was used to categorize the top concerns into three categories: behavioral health, children, families and poverty.

  “Denison students can help build a culture of hope throughout Licking County by supporting the community in the following ways,” Miller said. “Becoming aware of and educated about the priorities, advocating for these issues and working toward policy changes, volunteering with a program or agency to address these priorities and considering a donation to United Way of Licking County.”

“I think we already have hundreds and hundreds of students volunteering for the non-profits that are going to be driving the blueprint forward,” President Adam Weinberg said. “We have lots of students doing work for Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the Yes Club, the Works, the Sparta.”

“I think where we could really make a big difference is increasing the philanthropic support that we give to the United Way” Weinberg said. “We raise a lot of money on campus through student organizations. All that philanthropic work that our fraternities, sororities, athletic teams, multicultural organizations do … a lot of students do a lot of really important philanthropic work.”

  A group of students has also approached  President Weinberg about holding a large event, similar to the Inaugural Ball a few years ago, that would be used as a large fundraiser for the United Way.

The event would be an opportunity for students and faculty to have an evening celebration.

As a part of the Blueprint, Dingus will spend 50 days walking around the county to raise awareness.

She will be spending a day on Denison’s campus meeting with students and faculty and will spend the night outside on campus on April 9.

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