The United Way of Monroe County and the Pocono Alliance have announced their intent to merge.
Michael Albert, president and CEO of the Monroe United Way, said pending approval from their respective boards the merger is expected to be complete April 1.
“Like many United Ways across the country, we’ve started switching from being a fundraiser and grant writer to being more focused on making a community impact,” Albert said.
He said the United Way in each community is uniquely situated in the way it works with nonprofits, governmental agencies, businesses and other organizations.
“We’re Switzerland. We’re neutral. We’re not partisan,” he said. “That positions us to bring all sides together to work on what a community needs.”
But, he said, one of the things that has been holding back such efforts in the Poconos, is the relatively small size of the organization.
The Monroe United Way has four staff members, compared, for example, to the much larger United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, which has 35 staffers.
A merger with the Pocono Alliance, which employs five people, will double the headcount of people on hand to solve community problems, and allow staff members to specialize in areas where they excel, Albert said.
Albert noted that the Pocono Alliance has already been one of his United Way’s strongest partners.
He said that the Alliance operates the Monroe 2-1-1 help line, which helps link those in need with more than 900 services available in the state. It also handles many educational outreach initiatives.
“The alignment is very strong,” Albert said.