About Us

Otsego County United Way Voted 2012 BEST OF THE BEST in the Non-Profit category

by Herald Times readers - THANK YOU!!


Otsego County United Way

Providing countless opportunities to give, advocate and volunteer in our community

Otsego County United Way (OCUW) was originally founded over 40 years ago as the Community Fund. Today we are part of a network of more than 1,300 United Ways across the U.S., each of which is autonomous and independently governed by its own local Board of Directors.


3 Building Blocks: Education, Income, Health

Our mission at OCUW is to “Uniting volunteers and mobilizing resources to support effective programs addressing community needs in Otsego County.” We work hard to advance the common good, which means creating opportunities for a good life for everyone who lives in our community. In 2011, we began to focus our efforts in three critical areas: education, income and health, which are the building blocks to a successful life, a quality education leads to a stable job, with an ability to earn enough income to support a family through retirement, with good health at every stage.

Connecting people to create change

United Way is in the unique position of being able to connect people through giving, volunteering and advocating to make a difference in our community. We focus our energy in identifying underlying problems and knocking down barriers to create opportunities in education, health and income. Additionally, we work closely with other community organizations to not only address problems in these three critical areas, but to uncover the causes, with a goal of helping people make permanent, lasting changes that will truly improve their lives. We do this by focusing our resources on:

Education: By focusing on a quality education for our youth and encouraging academic completion, we substantially increase their ability to find a stable job.

Income: It is absolutely critical that families are financially stable and independent. It is impossible for families to be successful without sufficient income to support a growing family that will last through retirement.

Health: Even if people have a quality education and adequate income, it means nothing if they do not have their health. A healthy mind, body and spirit go a long way toward accomplishing the first two building blocks.


Program and Services

From developing and funding programs to networking and sharing ideas, we work closely with other nonprofit organizations to ensure we are all using our resources wisely, not duplicating services and creating programs that truly meet our community’s needs. Programs and services include:

 • Agency Impact, United Way funds 11 programs at partner agencies to address critical community needs and serve vulnerable populations

 • First Call For Help, provides a one stop place for people in need to learn about area resources, register for utility or housing assistance and find counseling on options available to them to start improving their situations. The program works with non-profits, governmental agencies, faith-based organizations, funders and concerned volunteers to help Otsego County’s most vulnerable citizens obtain the basics needed to be self-sufficient

 • Volunteer Center, connects individuals interested in helping out in the community with organizations and project that most need it. This program encourages volunteers from teenagers to adults. The Road to Recovery program provides daily rides for cancer patients from all over Otsego County to their radiation therapy in Petoskey. Lead program for UW Literacy League & Day of Caring projects.

 • RSVP, is the retired and senior volunteer program. This program provides volunteer opportunities to anyone fifty-five years and older, helping individuals stay active in the community and providing a resource for organizations and projects that are in need of volunteers.


Some of the key initiatives that focus our efforts in the three critical areas of education, income and health include:

  • Otsego County United Way's Literacy League - connecting volunteers to youth organizations to enhance literacy
  • Collaborating with community partnersthrough the Otsego Human Service Network
  • Participation in and support of the Otsego County Literacy Council
  • Housing support for individuals who are precariously housed through our First Call for Help program and the Otsego Homeless Continuum of Care


• United Way’s 2-1-1 free call center provides a central resource for local community services and information 24/7 to people in need of information on any human service issue.