United Way Annual Campaign Underway


United Way Board and StaffFulton, NY – As the crowd settled in for the United Way of Greater Oswego County kick-off breakfast for its 2016 – 2017 Annual Campaign they were greeted with two rather introspective questions…What’s your story?  Why do you support United Way?

Hundreds of Oswego County residents share their time, talents, and treasure with United Way.  They help others by contributing to the United Way Annual Campaign and supporting United Way funded human services programs that do so much to improve the quality of life in our communities.  But why do they do it?  What is it that inspires this generosity and this concern for the well-being of our fellow community members?

At the kick-off breakfast five individuals representing the United Way Board of Directors and United Way member agencies Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) and Farnham Family Services reflected on why they are compelled to whole heartedly support United Way.

From stories of being forced to realize how fortunate they were to as a child and how blessed they are in their family life to a recollection of a very special Christmas Eve, these individuals spoke from the heart.

When I was 17 I was in the Fulton hospital with a collapsed lung,” remembered Colleen Sharkey of Farnham Family Services.  “I was not looking forward to spending Christmas night in the hospital.  To my surprise two teens from the Salvation Army stopped in to visit me.  They brought a gift basket with an angel ornament and several board games for us to play.  I’ll always remember the kindness and generosity they showed me by taking time from their own Christmas celebration to spend time with a sick teen.  I was very grateful for what they did and to this day the angel ornament they gave me hangs proudly from my Christmas tree.  I support United Way because I want to give back to others and maybe give them a moment they’ll cherish as much as I do that Christmas evening.

For Eric Bresee, executive director of Farnham Family Services it’s the trust that he has in the United Way staff and the knowledge that they are good stewards of the donations United Way receives that motivates him.  Through his work with Farnham and other United Way member agencies Bresee said that he witnesses first-hand the positive difference that United Way supported programs have on the lives of those they touch.  “Recently I met a pregnant teen that spent the previous night sleeping on the street under a bridge.  With the aid of Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) I was able to locate temporary housing for her and put her on a positive path.  Supporting United Way is a way for us to put our money where our mouth is.  I know I will be increasing my donation to United Way this year and I encourage all of you here to do the same,” said Bresee.

It was interesting to hear the experiences that inspired these individuals to share their time, talents, and treasure with United Way,” added Executive Director of United Way of Greater Oswego County Patrick Dewine.  “Together we can have an overwhelming positive impact on the quality of life in Oswego County.  Each of you here has your own story to tell of why you support United Way.  I encourage you to share that story with your friends and co-workers and let them know why it is important to support United Way and take an active role in our mission to end hunger, help children and youth succeed, and improve the health and well-being of families and individuals throughout Oswego County.

For more information on the United Way of Greater Oswego County and the human services programs it funds visit www.oswegounitedway.org and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Cut line for photo: United Way of Greater Oswego County staff, board of directors, and members of the agency’s campaign cabinet welcomed guests to the United Way’s Kick-Off Breakfast for its 2016 – 2017 campaign.  From left are: United Way Board President Christy Huynh, United Way Executive Director Patrick Dewine, Board Members Melissa Miller of Pathfinder Bank, Rob Rolfe of Harmony Financial Services, Clark Stanton of Oswego Valley Insurance Agency, Campaign Cabinet Chairperson Dick Delaney of Novelis, Wally Dengos of National Grid, Jillian Shaver of the Children’s Museum of Oswego, George Popp of Laboratory Alliance of CNY, Wendy Tetro of Fulton Savings Bank, Brian Sullivan of Entergy, Bill Crist from the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, Marion Ciciarelli of Oswego Health, Finance Director Kayla Van Fleet, United Way Resource Development Director, Alison McGrath, and United Way Campaign Assistant Kay Duguay.

United Way Breakfast a Success


I extend my sincerest thanks to everyone who helped make the Annual United Way Breakfast such a success!  Hosted by Robert and Liz McGrath at the Club House Tavern in Oswego, and sponsored by Eagle Beverage, Peter and Ann Wiltsie and the Club House Tavern, the event raised $3,600 for our Stuff-A-Bus campaign.  The proceeds from the breakfast allowed us to supplement our Stuff-A-Bus campaign by purchasing backpacks and other school supplies for less fortunate students throughout Oswego County.

The support that we received from both community members and local business owners was inspiring.  The generous donations of food and beverages from Dahl’s Diner, Davis Brothers, Eagle Beverage, Renzi Foods, Wade’s Diner, Sithe Energy, Office Tavern, Maria’s Restaurant, and Gibby’s Irish Pub made for a complete breakfast menu and ensured that everyone had plenty to eat.

Of course the success of the United Way Breakfast would not have been possible if not for the efforts of a dedicated planning committee.  Liz and Dan Dorsey, Patrick Barry, Bernie Coe, John Michael Kelly, Jim Schneider, Bill Tucker, Laurie and John Kelly, and Robert and Liz McGrath selflessly donated their time and talents; from cooking to serving to clean-up, their concern for our community, our youth, and United Way was evident.  It was a wonderful example of living united and helping others in our community.

The efforts of those that made our breakfast possible, and the support received from those that attended the event, is greatly appreciated.  It helped us put a smile of gratitude on the faces of hundreds of Oswego County students and their families.


Patrick Dewine
Executive Director
United Way of Greater Oswego County