Priorities and Initiatives

Collective Community Impact

United Way of LaPorte County's collective community impact projects create pathways to success for our local youth, bring financial stability to adults and families, fight homelessness, and provide a safety net for our friends and neighbors in times of crisis.

United Way brings together public, private, and nonprofit partners with a vested interest in LaPorte County to work collectively as a unified team. Our integrated and collaborative structure coordinates community-based health and human service efforts to advocate with a common agenda, pool resources, standardize measurement, share results, and avoid duplication.

Together, we achieve greater impact, develop lasting outcomes, and change lives. This is how we LIVE UNITED.


foundationS for
a lifetime of learning


Early Childhood Development

Quality Child Care For All

United Way fights for high-quality early childhood care and education that is accessible and affordable for all. That's how we LIVE UNITED.

A recent survey conducted by found that one-third of American families spend 20% of their income on child care. What’s more, five out of six children eligible for federal child care assistance do not receive it, primarily due to lack of funding. Far too many families in our community are unable to afford the costs of quality child care and our local children are at risk of missing out during the most important time of their personal development. Skills build upon skills and the further a child falls behind, the harder it is to catch up. 

Fortunately, United Way and its partners are banding together to provide child care assistance vouchers to low-income and underserved families in LaPorte County; and at the same time, fighting for early care and education at the local, state, and national levels.

Kindergarten Countdown Camps

Kindergarten Countdown Camp is a free four week summer camp designed to prepare children with little to no preschool experience for their new roles as kindergarten students. The camps are taught by licensed, experienced teachers and help kids adjust to the routines and procedures of kindergarten in order to help them transition into school.


Generously Supported By:



    Thanks to United Way of LaPorte County and the generous support of NIPSCO, Healthcare Foundation of La Porte, and Unity Foundation, our community's newest students will start school this fall with the skills they need to succeed!  This is how we LIVE UNITED.

    Thanks to United Way of LaPorte County and the generous support of NIPSCO, Healthcare Foundation of La Porte, and Unity Foundation, our community's newest students will start school this fall with the skills they need to succeed!
    This is how we LIVE UNITED.

    Continuing Education

    United Way of LaPorte County's Early Childhood Development Collective Community Impact work also supports the continual professional development of education of pre-k educators and professionals in our community through traditional higher education, trainings, workshops, and networking opportunities. 

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    Pathways to
    a future of Success


    Youth Development


    United Way strives to build partnerships and support organizations that provide school-age children and young people with high-quality out-of-school time opportunities that help them  reach the academic and developmental milestones that ultimately lead to success in their college/workforce training, career, and life. That's how we LIVE UNITED.

    Youth development programs are opportunities and/or services that engages youth in a variety of social, emotional, educational, and recreational activities to promote improvements to their intellectual, behavioral, and physical well-being, consistent with a youth-focused approach.

    Our Youth Development Collective Community Impact work engages children and youth within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a productive and constructive way. United Way and our partners recognize, utilize, and enhance our local youths’ strengths. We promote positive outcomes by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their strengths.

    Our local youth development programs help our community's school-age children and young people: 

    – Avoid drugs, tobacco and alcohol
    – Increase school attendance
    – Improve grades and test scores
    – Increase job readiness
    – Decrease school discipline problems
    – Have increased leadership skills
    – Improve communication and decision-making skills
    – Have knowledge and understand the consequences of sexual activity
    – Increase their computer and technology skills
    – Decrease delinquent behaviors
    – Avoid school suspension
    – Have increased comfort with diversity
    – Attend college
    – Become productive citizens

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    Mentoring focuses on building healthy supportive relationships between a caring adult and a child/youth. Mentoring creates opportunities to help youth to dream beyond their current life challenges and set a path toward personal and academic success.

    Mentoring can help youth as they go through challenging life transitions, including dealing with stressful changes at home or transitioning to adulthood. Close, healthy, supportive relationships between mentors and mentees that last for a significant portion of time (i.e., more than one year) are central to success.

    The LaPorte County Mentoring Collaborative was formed to promote mentoring throughout our local communities, share best practices to support our youth, and work together to provide effective mentor training.

    Sign up to be a mentor by contacting the organization of your choice below.


    Slicer Champions School Based Mentoring Program

    Bert Sappenfield, Program Match Specialist
    (219) 362-3102 x61027

    Julie Sinclair, Program Specialist
    (219) 362-3102 x61182

    While all students need consistent supportive adults in their lives, sometimes not all students have someone “in their corner”. Slicer Champions help students to set goals, problem-solve challenges and celebrate successes. Mentors are provided training and support throughout the mentoring relationship. The time spent with our youth opens doors to learning for both the mentor and mentee. “A mentor is someone who walks before you to guide you and alongside you to show you what you can do.” Consider becoming a Slicer Champions mentor.

    Youth Service Bureau's School Buddies program

    Stephanie Fleshman
    (219) 362-9587 x107

    School Buddies offers one to one mentoring at our local schools in La Porte County.  Mentors spend one hour a week eating lunch, playing games and talking with students in our local elementary schools.  The School Buddies program is always looking for mentors who would like to spend one on one time and be a friend to a student in our program. 

    The Boys & Girls Club’s AWE Program

    Brandi Lewis, Executive Director
    (219) 873-2298 

    The Al Whitlow Experience (AWE) mentoring program is offered for children ages 5 to 18 at all three Club locations: the Charles R. Westcott Club in the former Elston Middle School at 321 Detroit Street and the Club extensions at Pine Elementary School and Springfield Elementary School. The AWE mentoring approach positively impacts members in need of additional adult support, helping them develop a stronger sense of self-worth, increasing their social competency, and improving academics. The AWE program provides a combination of one-on-one, group, and peer mentoring services. Mentoring is site-based and provided by Club staff, volunteers, and peers. Through weekly meetings, caring and trusted adult volunteer mentors build relationships with their matched mentee and empower them to pursue their greatest future.  

    Family Advocate’s CAYA Program

    Brenda Stellema
    (219) 561-1526)

    Every day, there are struggling adolescents who wish there was someone who they could talk to express their concerns; someone who represents their feelings without bias; a positive role model to look up to and interact with. A CAYA is that person who listens and understands and represents the best interest of the youth. Volunteers are needed who have experiences to share and time to give to a youth in need. Whether it is tutoring, sharing a movie, a game of bowling or just a quick phone call, the impact on a teen can be huge. Our volunteers have diversified backgrounds, experience and cultural differences. We need your talents to assist our community youth!

    MCAS Safe Harbor’s H40 Mentoring Program

    Abby May
    (219) 873-2026 x8750

    MCAS youth meet one hour per week with their mentor. Meetings take place in a designated area within the child's school, under the support of a Hours for Ours school site coordinator. Youth and mentors spend time playing games, talking and building relationships based on support and trust. The mentor is an emotional 'cheerleader' for the child as he/she grows and begins to realize their potential and sprout dreams for their future. 

    Sign up to be a mentor
    by contacting the organization of your choice.


    Bridges to


    Financial Stability

    United Way fights to put every person in our community on a path toward financial empowerment. That starts with access to services, job training, credit counseling, and money management programs.

    United Way and our partners in LaPorte County are helping individuals and families build strong, stable foundations through resources and programs that enable them to achieve stable employment and financial literacy. We invest in partners that offer job training and placement, financial education, free tax preparation, and legal advice that helps adults and families succeed in work and in life.

    When you raise your hand to support Financial Stability, you empower adults and families in LaPorte County to move from surviving to thriving. That is how we LIVE UNITED.

    Nearly 40% of the people in the United States in the last two years have either skipped filling a prescription or reduced doses because their medicine was too expensive. To address this issue in LaPorte County, United Way has coordinated community-wide distribution of the free FamilyWize prescription discount cards. The FamilyWize program in Central Kentucky helps individuals and their families save an average of 30% on their prescription medications.

    The FamilyWize prescription discount card can save you and your family an average of up to 30% or more on 8 out of 10 prescriptions.

    IT'S FREE  •  FamilyWize a free resource from the United Way of LaPorte County and the FamilyWize community service partnership. Use the FamilyWize card today to start saving money on your prescription drugs today.

    IT'S EASY  •  Simply present your card and prescription to a participating pharmacy to obtain the discounted price. You always receive the lower of the discounted price or pharmacy's retail price.

    NO RESTRICTIONS  •  Use your card as often as you need, for any prescription, for everyone in your family. There is no income limit, age requirement, eligibility or registration required.

    My United Way 2-1-1 connects residents in 19 northern Indiana counties with comprehensive and up-to-date information about social, health, and government services.

    Instead of making multiple calls that often leading to dead ends, you can dial 2-1-1 seven days a week, 24 hours a day and talk to a live phone counselor or browse online to find the help you need.

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    Basic Needs
    In times of Crisis


    The Safety Net


    Stabilizing individuals and families during times of crisis is absolutely critical in the delivery of our mission to help our community's households thrive.

    It’s difficult to talk to someone about going back to school or preparing a household budget when they're worried about where their children will sleep tonight or whether there will be enough food to eat. In some cases, it’s vital to stabilize individuals and families with emergency food, shelter, clothing, and other essentials before we can begin working on improving their education, financial stability, and health. 

    United Way's safety net strategies for individuals and families in LaPorte County are focused around meeting basic needs and  fostering independence when faced with unexpected life challenges and times of crisis. We take a holistic approach to helping people move toward prosperity by creating opportunities and removing barriers. We support local partners who are providing basic human needs such as access to healthy food, a safe place to live, shelter from violence, and a solid platform from which our neighbors in need can focus on long term goals.

    When we join together in times of crisis, we can empower all our neighbors to live healthy, prosperous lives. That is how we LIVE UNITED.

    My United Way 2-1-1 connects residents in 19 northern Indiana counties with comprehensive and up-to-date information about social, health, and government services.

    Instead of making multiple calls that often leading to dead ends, you can dial 2-1-1 seven days a week, 24 hours a day and talk to a live phone counselor or browse online to find the help you need.

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    Annual Campaign 

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    When you support United Way of LaPorte County by donating, volunteering or advocating, you join an exceptional group of game changers, problem solvers and difference makers. United, we take on our county’s biggest challenges and we couldn’t do it without people like you. Thank you!

    GIVE NOW! Join us in support of this year’s Annual Campaign.

    GIVE NOW! Join us in support of this year’s Annual Campaign.



    Annual Campaign Training 2018

    If you missed the Annual Campaign Training this year, you can watch the recordings below:

    Your New Local United Way - Transition to Collective Impact
    with Executive Director Kris Pate

    Download: Transition to Collective Impact PowerPoint Slides

    The Mechanics of an Annual Campaign
    with Director of Corporate Engagement Dave Sisk.

    Download: Mechanics of Campaign Outline

    Additional videos used in the training:

    The Cliff Effect: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.

    See full report and more about benefit cliffs here:

    AMERICAN WINTER is a powerful and timely documentary that follows the stories of eight families struggling to survive in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and reveals the impact of rising economic inequality, cuts to social services, and the fracturing of the American Dream.


    Our Impact

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    Help us create change.

    Incredible things happen when our community comes together,
    and we can’t do it without you.

    Give.    Advocate.    Volunteer.    Join.    Attend.