Women's Leadership Network
Through our leadership, passion and investments, we intentionally light the way to empower Delaware County individuals and families to succeed.
- Our WLN Priorities - Changing The Odds
- Financial Goal
- Ways to Engage with WLN
THANK YOU TO OUR ADVOCATES:
Blue & Co
Big Lots Foundation
Edward Jones Duty Hostutler
First Commonwealth Bank
Bob and Gina Grote
Greg and Hollie Foust
Haller Wealth Management Group
Nick and Lisa Padovano
Jim and Gail Mendenhall
The Foust Family
V&P Hydraulic Products
In February 2012 the United Way of Delaware County officially launched the Women's Leadership Network (WLN) with the guidance from 10 Delaware County women. These 10 women began meeting in 2011 to layout the vision and direction for this new affinity group. In 2012 WLN raised $33,000 and invested in 4 programs. Since then, the WLN has raised and invested over $1,300,000 in community programs that empower individuals and families to succeed. The Women's Leadership Network is one of the largest funders of social change in Delaware County. 100% of financial gifts flow directly to organizations they support. Along the way, WLN intentionally shines light on problems that few want to publicly talk about – like the heroin epidemic, domestic violence and human trafficking – contributing early to what have become state and national conversations. The Women’s Leadership Network is a strong advocate for families and children living with violence and constant crisis by ensuring their voices are heard and needs are addressed. Great strides have been made to provide children with school supplies and personal care items, so they can focus on learning – perhaps giving each child the opportunity to change their future circumstances. The WLN invested over $500,000 to a domestic violence shelter in Delaware County which opened in early 2019. Their leadership and early support was critical to this project. WLN raised $250,000 for the Strengthening Families initative which promotes opportunities for children and families to learn, grow and thrive. Moving forward, the group has pledged to raised $500,000 to make an intentional investment in our youth and support the Delaware County Housing Alliance in initiating a Young Adult Housing project. This project is to provide young adults, ages 18-21 with a place to stay for 18 to 24 months (HUD recommendations), along with case management, mental health support, trained adult mentorship, job readiness classes, college application assistance and general navigation support towards independence.
Our WLN Priorities - Changing The Odds
The WLN has aligned with United Way of Delaware County to “Change the Odds” for individuals and families in our community. Our priorities include investing time and financial gifts to:
Mission: To empower Delaware County residents through lifelong learning using a collective approach.
Vision: The Strengthening Families Initiative enhances the lives of Delaware County residents through comprehensive programming and collaborations.
Tag Line: Families Learn, Grow and Thrive
- Provided $16,000 to establish 8 Born Learning Trails throughout Delaware County.
- Provide operational support for the Willis Education Center hub which provides a one stop service location for families and children. Learn more at DelawareCountyFamilies.org
- Programs include:
- Toy Lending Library for children birth to seven years old
- Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy Assessments and Play Groups
- Wellness Room (Mental Health Drop In and Appointment Based Counseling Services)
- Afterschool Teen Room and Programming for Middle School Students
- STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Education
- The Shop (Offering clothing, toiletries and basic needs)
- Parenting Enrichment Education
- Child Care Provider Roundtable and Education
- Family Resource Center
- Emergency Food Pantry
- Monthly free medical and prescription clinic
- Pathways to Hope Crisis Fund
- Diaper Bank
- Serve as a mentor to a Willis Innovation Learning Lab student. These are high school aged students working on credits to graduate in a non-traditional format. Mentors encourage and walk beside students often navigating multiple barriers and challenges.
- Serve as a Strengthening Families volunteer.
- Sponsor a child(ren) through the holiday wish program.
- In-kind collection drives: Clothing for The Shop, Diaper Bank, etc.
SUPPLIES FOR SCHOLARS
Founded by WLN in 2013, this annual back to school event serves nearly 2,500 Delaware County children by providing the tools and resources that prepare kids for learning and success. Learn more at Supplies for Scholars.
- WLN is the presenting sponsor for one large event in Delaware and community distribution sites in every school district throughout Delaware County. WLN funding supports the purchase of back to school supplies, backpacks and personal care items. Approximately $45,000+ is needed to support this event each year.
- Volunteer at the main event held annually in July. Volunteers serve as shoppers, assist with overall logistics and interact with children and families who attend the event each year,
- Sponsor a collection drive for school supplies and/or toiletry items.
CHANGING THE ODDS SCHOLARSHIP
Established in 2017 and facilitated by a WLN Scholarship Committee.
The WLN works in partnership with the Delaware Area Career Center (DACC) to identify students who have career goals but maybe limited with financial resources to complete coursework at DACC. This scholarship program seeks to remove barriers allowing students to successfully complete academic courses leading to employment and long-term stability.
The WLN sets aside funding each year to support academic needs for students at DACC. Applications are reviewed by the WLN Scholarship Committee and approved by the WLN Steering Committee. As of 12/1/20: Over $15,000 awarded to 31 students.
Since 2012, the WLN has raised over $1,300,000. 100% of the funding is invested back in Delaware County programs. WLN raised $250,000 for the Strengthening Families initiative which promotes opportunities for children and families to learn, grow and thrive. Moving forward the group has pledged to raise $500,000 to make an intentional investment in our youth and support the Delaware County Housing Alliance in providing a Young Adult Housing project, continued support for the Changing the Odds Scholarship Fund and Supplies for Scholars; along with coordinating meaningful, hands-on opportunities related to top priorities.
The WLN works in conjunction with our community to replace barriers with opportunities, to change lives for the better, and provide new paths to brighter futures. In 2021, we celebrated 10 years of being a unified voice for our Delaware County neighbors. WLN has been an integral part of opening a hub of community services through Strengthening Families, establishing a domestic violence shelter and offering scholarships, school supplies and mentoring opportunities so students can pursue their educational and career goals.
- Contribute a minimum gift of $25 or more annually to WLN. Giving year is April 1st-March 31st each year.
- Receive monthly updates via eblast and social media
Select Women's Leadership Network from the United Way initiative dropdown below.
“The last decade, so much has changed in the Delaware Community-and it would not be thriving without the Women's Leadership Network.
M.O.M.S. families have received many, many gifts during the holiday season. One of the hardest parts about parenting is taking care of yourself-the most thoughtful gifts are often times practical or those that we do not think we need. One of the Moms received a Panera gift card and expressed hesitation because she had never been there. After using the gift card, the ability to go through a drive thru and eat a nutritious meal was emotionally under-rated. Currently, as a treat, she saves up to eat at Panera regularly and purchases Panera salad dressings at Kroger.
Many volunteers with the Women's Leadership Network have sponsored a Baby Shower annually for M.O.M.S. While the babies may have been born months previously, parenting is constantly changing and evolving. There are umbrellas of similarity, but each parent, child, and dynamic are different. Providing a celebration of parenting and having a safe space to celebrate the constant memories is so appreciated. As there are many, many changes in the first year of life, The Women's Leadership Network has been thoughtful with each child's needs through clothing, books, diapers, wipes, and many more ideas.
Mostly, The Mentoring Programs are grateful for The Women's Leadership Network's time. Rachel Hollis said 'Life is not supposed to overwhelm you at all times. Life isn't meant to be merely survive-it's meant to be lived.' As a new parent or family with youth, that focus can be lost and daily needs take over everything. The Women's Leadership Network has been a vital support in creating and maintaining safe spaces for families. From cleaning the Toy Lending Library or giving time to fill book bags at the Supplies for Scholars event, every interaction with a member of The Women's Leadership Network has been driven with consistency, support, and ideas.”
~ Melanie Bange, MOMS Program
"We greatly appreciate how the Women's Leadership Network has strongly supported Common Ground Free Store through monetary gifts, many dedicated hours of service and in-kind support throughout the years. Common Ground Free Store has expanded and increased its ability to serve the community because of the great support from organizations like this."
~ Sharon Griner, Common Ground Free Store
“Over the years, the Women’s Leadership Network has been instrumental in providing Turning Point with opportunities to grow capacity, and further bring about awareness. The members have shown great confidence in our agency’s mission and continually provide recognition and support.
WLN provided an immeasurable amount of support during our capital campaign to build the Delaware domestic violence shelter. Not only did the members provide us with financial support that kicked off the campaign, they also provided linkages for further donations from other organizations, and on-going in-kind support. They have truly been our cheerleaders throughout the years and served as catalysts during the process of building and developing the shelter in Delaware.”
~ Amber Scott, Turning Point
"I am amazed by, and appreciative of United Way of Delaware County’s Women’s Leadership Network’s (WLN) generosity through the Changing the Odds program. What started out as a scholarship program to provide help with school fees, uniform or tool purchases or technology items has evolved to do so much more for our students. Following the completion of the application, some interviews have revealed additional barriers outside of school, and the WLN has stepped up to the task of connecting students with agencies to provide for the needs. As a result of our partnership, some DACC students have been the recipient of the Holiday Wish program or have been involved in a mentoring program. The support, which exceeds $19,000 and numerous volunteers, provided by the WLN has changed the trajectory for DACC recipients. WLN has truly Changed the Odds for these students. Thank you for making such a positive difference for our students and our community.”
~ Mary Beth Freeman, Delaware Area Career Center
“Over the past 10 years, the Women’s Leadership Network has helped us share over 7,400 meals to those in need in Delaware County. We are very fortunate and thankful to have their support to help fight food insecurity."
~ Kathy Hoff and Jennifer Fralic, Co-chairs of Delaware County Hunger Alliance
“Family Promise of Delaware County and the Women’s Leadership Network have grown up together. Not only were they formed around the same time, but both serve a central mission: serving and empowering others locally who are in need.
When Family Promise was in its infancy and the shelter was becoming a reality, the generous souls of WLN stepped up and generously supported the homeless shelter through their contributions and sweat. One financial donation supported the rehab and renovation of an entire room at the shelter.
We congratulate the WLN on this significant milestone and look forward to strengthening our partnership over the next decade – and then some. Bless you all!”
~ Tracy Whited, Board Chair of Family Promise
“WLN has been incredibly supportive of our students and families. I cannot imagine not having their support. They have provided school supplies, clothing, financial assistance and so much more, but most importantly they provide hope.
The Pathways to Hope fund assists with rent/mortgage and utility needs for qualifying Delaware County residents. I have personally referred several of our families to this program for rent and utility assistance during the past several months. One of the exciting enhancements to this program is they are able to assist with connectivity. We, as educators, know that connectivity is a necessary utility for individuals who are applying for jobs, completing the necessary paperwork, accessing resources throughout the county and completing school work!"
~ Heidi Kegley, Superintendent of Delaware City Schools
“We are so thankful for the generous contributions from the WLN over the years. With your partnership, Delaware County’s Big Brothers Big Sisters continues to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth."
~ Mitchell Briant, Big Brothers Big Sisters