Our mission is to unite the caring power of our community to improve lives in Ashland County. We couldn’t do this without the many people who have helped our organization over the years.
That same year, on May 31, 1957, the governing board-initiated changes to their current model and became a “United Appeal”. The first Board of Trustees were J. Robert Tipton, Glenn E. Falkner, Richard Topper, and Robert Roland. The first campaign was an overwhelming success with the overall goal exceeded by 31%. Founding director, Robert Tipton was quoted as saying: “United Appeal is one of the city-county endeavors that we can be most proud of. It would be hard to overestimate the good UA has done for this community, both for the givers and the receivers.”
The Community Chest Board of Governors managed the entire organization with volunteers. This continued even after United Appeal began in 1957 with a 27-member volunteer Board of Trustees. For a short time, Dr. Harold Oyster handled the management of the organization, as a volunteer. In 1981, the remarkably successful Pacesetter Campaign began under the leadership of Board President Tom Seddon.
Jay Morris was hired as the first full-time paid Executive Director in June 1982. Serving until mid-1985. Morris was replaced by Ashland County’s very own Jan Archer, and she led the transition to the Trustee approved affiliation with the national United Way organization and the United Appeal became United Way of Ashland County in 1990. Jan led this successful transition and stepped down in 1994. Chris Vanderzyden led the newly minted United Way of Ashland County from 1994 until 1996. In 1996, the directorship changed once again with Kay Conrad replacing Vanderzyden.
In 1996, under the leadership of Director Kay Conrad, a transition to agency program funding with accountability standards and outcomes became an emphasis of evaluation by the Allocation committee. Community needs assessments helped vet the best investment of donor contributions. Kay is credited with starting the “Day of Caring” in 1987 and it is now called The Kay Conrad Day of Caring in her memory. In 2004 Jan Broomall was announced as the new director with the retirement of Kay Conrad and Ms. Broomall completed her time in May of 2006. After a lengthy search, local legend, Ev DeVaul was tapped as the new Executive Director in October 2006, accepting the challenge in the middle of the 2007 campaign drive.
2007-2017 Ev DeVaul is credited with the largest and most successful campaigns in the history of the organization. He also transitioned the organization into a year-round fundraising model and brought a sense of energy to each of the campaigns and to all of the United Way events. Wonder Dogs were his specialty and if you were lucky enough to have one it meant that you were helping reach the campaign goal. Ev and the Wonder Dogs retired in January of 2017, but he can be found at many of the United Way events.
Stacy Schiemann was hired in January 2017 and leads the organization through the present day, helping UWAC reach their campaign goal each year. Stacy’s background in social work and direct practice along with her expertise in managing nonprofit social service agencies gives her a firsthand understanding of the services the agencies provide and the impact they have on the community.
Today, United Way of Ashland County is focused on providing funding to the most innovative programs and services in Ashland County to meet the unique needs of our local residents. The essence of the work remains the same all of these years later, matching resources with services to serve the community and its residents so that everyone can have access to needed services, on solving local problems with local solutions in the areas of health, education, and financial stability. These are the building blocks for a good life—a quality education that provides skills that lead to a stable job, sufficient income to support a family, maintaining good health and meeting basic needs throughout a lifetime.
Annually, United Way of Ashland County supports 14 partner agencies with 24 programs, and provides community programming through Fun Fridays, Stuff the Bus, Back-2-School, Kay Conrad Day of Caring, Amish Health and Safety Day and participating in a wide variety of committees to help strengthen Ashland County.