Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Communities

March 12, 2010

COMMUNITIES: United Way prepares for next chapter

The Eastern Niagara United Way is looking to the future after taking a moment Thursday to remember the past, included recognizing individuals for their contributions in 2009.

The agency is nearing completion of its consolidation with the United Way of Niagara. Carol Houwaart-Diez, president of the Niagara United Way, said the consolidation is close, as the agencies are just waiting on a certificate of incorporation from the state. The new agency would be called the United Way of Greater Niagara.

“Could be any day,” Houwaart-Diez said. “We’ve already been through the attorney general’s office and the state Supreme Court.”

Houwaart-Diez will be the president of the new organization, whose main office will be based on Military Road in the Town of Niagara. The new agency will staff an office in Lockport, the current office on Main Street in Lockview Plaza. There will be a 20-member board of directors running the new organization, including 10 from Niagara and 10 from Eastern Niagara.

The two agencies voted to consolidate back in October, although the original plan was to include the United Way of the Tonawandas.

However, the Tonawandas voted against joining up with the other United Ways. Houwaart-Diez said if the Tonawandas ever change their mind, they can join up anytime.

“The door’s open,” she said. “They’ll be welcomed with open arms.”

In its final awards luncheon and annual meeting, Eastern Niagara Chairman Bob Hagen told volunteers and members there would be one annual meeting next year for the new United Way. There will also be one Day of Caring event, one Make a Difference Day and a single fundraising campaign, which starts in the summer. There will be 21 community agencies that will receive funding

and support from the new United Way of Greater Niagara.

Among the award recipients was the Barker Central School District. Barker was awarded the Community Challenge Cup, which is given to an organization that has demonstrated a long-term financial commitment to the United Way. Hypertherm was awarded the President’s Challenge Cup, which is given to the top campaign leader with the greatest increase in total dollars or participation.

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