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United Fund moves closer to merger

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Montgomery County United Fund has moved one step closer toward a merger with United Way of Greater Lafayette as talks continue between the agencies.

United Fund’s board of directors on Tuesday approved an agreement in principle to join forces with the larger organization, the latest in a series of steps to prepare for the merger. The agreement does not formalize the merger itself, which still needs the board’s vote.

“Instead, we are taking a vote to recognize that we are continuing to move forward to that end and have a working agreement that is mutually acceptable,” board president Heather Shirk said during the annual public meeting.

The possibility of a merger was first raised by United Fund three years ago as a way to boost funding for local nonprofits.

Under the combined efforts, the Lafayette agency would help market United Fund’s fundraising campaign and oversee a regional fiduciary board including members from a Montgomery County-based advisory group.

As part of the talks, United Fund stipulated that all funding received from Montgomery County donors or designated for the county and its agencies will stay in the county.

The local advisory board will review funding requests from nonprofit partners, and United Fund will maintain an office in Crawfordsville.

“The merger will allow us to bring more resources and support into Montgomery County,” United Fund director Gina Haile said. “It will ensure that the growing needs of children, families and struggling households and individuals are met, and it will provide continued assistance for local nonprofits in their pursuit of service delivery excellence.”

Four new board members will help oversee the rest of the process. Those elected were Jim Johnson, Fusion 54 director; Bill Koons, Pace Dairy Foods site leader; Karin Odle, North Montgomery school board member; and Margaret Sennett, Hoosier Heartland State Bank senior portfolio manager.

Shirk, vice president Brian Campbell, secretary Kayla Bretney and treasurer Michele Hunley were each re-elected as board officers through 2022.

The board distributed more than $269,000 to 15 partner agencies. The allocations included:

• Boys and Girls Club of Montgomery County: $41,250

• Camp Rotary: $2,500

• Community Chest: $3,000

• Crawfordsville Adult Resource Academy: $14,000

• Family Crisis Shelter: $51,000

• Fuzzy Bear Preschool: $8,000

• Hand in Hand Creative Learning: $18,000

• New Beginnings Child Care: $8,750

• Pam’s Promise Transitional Housing: $12,500

• Recovery Coalition: $11,292

• Sunshine Vans: $22,500

• Trinity Life Ministry: $9,000

• Volunteers for Mental Health: $3,031.42

• Willson Family Literacy Preschool: $13,600

• Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau: $51,000

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