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For Immediate Release
(Chardon, Ohio) June 16, 2004

Contact: Kimm Leininger, LISW, 440.285.2261 ext. 222

Community Collaboration to address Health and Human Service needs in Geauga County

On June 16, 2004, United Way Services of Geauga County Executive Director, Kimm Leininger, and Family First Council Executive Director, Nancy Seelbach, presented to the Geauga County Commissioners how they plan to collaborate to address Health and Human Services needs in Geauga County.

“Over a year ago, the Board at United Way began to discuss the need for an updated needs assessment. They clearly recognized that the data collected in 1996 for the last community needs assessment, Geauga Today and Tomorrow, was no longer adequate to utilize in making funding decisions or for determining programmatic focus areas,” explained Leininger.

According to Leininger, “United Way is looking to partner with groups that want to make positive sustainable change in Geauga County. After the last needs assessment was completed, those involved went their separate ways to solve the issues identified, such as transportation. Hence, we were each investing limited resources into separate solutions without understanding how we could effectively collaborate to make a greater difference.” United Way Services of Geauga County will utilize the COMPASS II model for the completion of this project. The model was created by United Way of America for use in local United Ways to begin Community Building efforts. The chosen model will add greatly to the community needs assessment, as it will begin with an evaluation of community assets before any needs are identified. It will also utilize a community visioning process and setting a community agenda around the needs that Geauga County residents have identified. Furthermore, this process will allow the pulling together of resources and creative problem solving that will unify the community to make positive lasting changes in social conditions.

At this time, United Way Services of Geauga County will be joined by the Family First Council, Department of Job & Family Services, Department on Aging, and the Board of Mental Health and Recovery Services to complete the COMPASS II project. According to Seelbach, “collectively we decided that we would work together to coordinate our approaches so no entity's efforts are duplicated, nor scarce resources wasted.”

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