‘We have a long and rich history of strengthening individuals and families in the community and recognize that diverse opinions and backgrounds drive organizational growth,” says Sandra Toussaint, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Mercer County (UWGMC). This has been an important aspect of the United Way’s overall mission since it was founded 125 years ago by a woman along with a priest, two ministers, and a rabbi. Locally UWGMC serves nearly 400,000 residents in Mercer and parts of Middlesex counties.

The United Way of Greater Mercer County continues to be forward thinking and innovative and is proud to have its first female CEO, Sandra Toussaint, and the first female African American board chair, Jennifer Woods. Both bring to the organization a rich professional background in their respective fields.

“Seeing women in public leadership allows young girls and women across many different socio-economic backgrounds to reach higher, dream bigger, and change the community in which they live. Through our initiatives and current leadership team we are reflecting what’s possible when everybody has a seat at the table.”

“At the heart of UWGMC’s mission is the overall health, education, and financial stability of those in our community. There’s a really nice synergy among our staff, board, nonprofit and corporate partners as well as our volunteers in coming up with integrated strategies that lead us toward our goal of supporting a thriving community. We are able to sit in a room and brainstorm: here’s what we’re doing in Mercer County, how can we have a greater impact? What does success look like for individuals and our community?” says Toussaint.

One example of United Way assisting working families is its tax prep program, which serves households making less than $65,000 per year, offering them free assistance with filing their tax returns. “Tax time is a good time to review your current and future financial situations, especially when potentially receiving a refund. UWGMC has asked themselves and their partners how they can help people maximize savings opportunities,” Toussaint says. “In that way they are looking at financial stability from all angles in order to empower taxpayers to improve their financial condition. This goes beyond simply preparing taxes but reviewing possible benefits taxpayers might be eligible for and assisting them in enrolling in federal benefits.”

In deepening our commitment to Mercer County residents, UWGMC partners with Single Stop, Family Guidance Consumer Credit Counseling (FGCCC) Agency, America Saves, and Commonwealth as well as others to provide credit counseling, debt management, federal benefits screenings, and college prep assistance.

Another example is the statewide 2-1-1 system, a free service that helps identify the best local resources to fit individual needs during times of distress or for life’s everyday situations. Those in need of assistance are encouraged to dial 2-1-1 24 hours a day, seven days a week to be connected to services — for the community, within the community.

United Way is excited to be offering the community all of these services and creating financial stability across Mercer County.

United Way of Greater Mercer County. 609-896-1912. www.uwgmc.org

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