Our History

The Orrville Area United Way was incorporated in 1958 as a consolidated annual fundraising organization. Leaders of the Steering Committee that transformed the Community Chest into the United Fund, as it was called back then, were Paul Smucker and Bruce Schantz.

Over the years, several part time administrators staffed the United Fund, including Bob Hershey, Norma Amstutz and Beverly McKee.

Helen Meyers was employed as the executive director from June 1, 1986 until her retirement in September 2019. After a short period of transition, Dawn Cazzolli was hired as the Executive Director in April 2020, and we have one part-time Administrative Assistant, Michele Wilson. Our United Way has evolved into a full-time community problem-solving organization, as well as a much more effective annual fundraiser. Our volunteers ensure the efficient and effective delivery of health and human care services, and monitor partner agencies and programs through our Citizen Review Process. CRC volunteers make all the funding decisions.

We have changed from an organization primarily focused on fundraising to an organization primarily focused on getting at the roots of problems. If all we ever do is give out food, we will never empower people to be self-sufficient. While we know we must feed the hungry and provide shelter and clothing in crises, we must, at the same time, work diligently to provide opportunities for individuals and families to thrive, as independently as possible. That is what makes United Way so different from other charities and so valuable – we see the whole picture, and our primary customers are our donors, who invest their time, resources and trust in our organization.

At the heart of our history of change is the United Way brand promise – what United Way says it will deliver with donor dollars:

1. We will identify need

2. We will create strategies to meet need

3. We will seek partners to implement programs to address the need

a. Agencies to deliver programs

b. Donors to fund programs

4. We will assure implementation of programs

5. We will assure that results are measured

6. We will report those results to the community