The way to United Way for Lenore Mohr was from Parkland High School to Hollywood and back to the Lehigh Valley.
Mohr, named Director, Marketing & Communications, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, in mid-January, says her work for the organization is a dream-come-true for her.
"I felt I was guided into this position and that it was meant to be for me," says Mohr of Bethlehem, who returned to the Lehigh Valley after 20 years working in the Hollywood movie and media business.
Mohr moved back to care for her daughter, Skylar, 10. At first, Mohr continued to work for a Los Angeles-based ad agency, then became Director of Marketing and Communications for InterviewStream, a Bethlehem-based online video interviewing firm for clients such as Johnson & Johnson, AT&T and Viacom.
Following her employment at InterviewStream, Mohr was having lunch with a friend when she asked her, "What next?"
Mohr recalls telling the friend, "'I've always wanted to take all of my experience and apply it to an organization that gives back to the world.'"
Three hours later, Mohr says, her friend emailed her that United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley was looking for a marketing director.
With the annual United Way campaign set to begin later this month and the annual Day of Caring, Sept. 12, Mohr took time out recently to reflect on the organization's mission and reach.
"We don't just fund the actual nonprofit, but we focus on the program," she says of United Way, said to be the world's largest nonprofit.
United Way focuses on programs for children, families and older adults. The goal is "to make a stronger and healthier Lehigh Valley."
United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, ranked 40th in fundsraising among 1,200 national United Ways, annually raises more than $10 million, investing in 73 programs at 47 local nonprofits in Lehigh and Northampton counties.
Funding emphasis is on education, income stability and supportive health services. About 71 percent of funds raised supports education.
Then, there's "the United Way multiplier effect." According to Mohr, "When you donate $1 to us, we've calculated $3 is invested back in the community."
United Way uses a three-year funding cycle. "It actually takes years to make transformative change in the community," Mohr notes.
Organizations applying for United Way funding must meet certain requirements. United Way receives five times as many requests as it can fund.
United Way emphasizes measured results. "We provide support for them to be successful in their programs," says Mohr.
An example is the Community Impact Team, headed by United Way's Marci Ronald, vice president, Community Impact. Twelve Lehigh Valley public schools participate with the goal of increasing PSSA scores through after-school mentoring. Air Products is the financial partner. The Boys and Girls Club is the lead partner, providing an on-site employee at, for example, Roosevelt Elementary School in the Allentown School District.
The United Way also funds breakfast, lunch and after-school snacks for students, parent support programs and the Da Viinci Science Center. Among the financial partners are Crayola, Lehigh University and St. Luke's University Health Network, the latter providing students vision screening and dental exams at school.
United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley has more than 400 volunteers, including mentors, tutors, board members and committee members.
The August kickoff to the Workplace Campaign is the biggest fundraiser for United Way, with more than 400 companies participating. There are also individual donors. Those who give $10,000 or more are recognized as members of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society.
The United Way campaign slogan is: "Big challenges. Effective solutions. More results." The Workplace Campaign concludes at year's end.
"We're focused on showing the results this year to the community," Mohr says.
On Day of Caring, participants at local nonprofits wear "Live United" T-shirts and donate their time. Last year, $76,000 in time and effort was donated to specific projects.
"Our main objective is to connect the community. The old perception was we're coming to you with a hand out. What we want to be known for is the hand spread apart. We're bringing people together."
The 30-plus United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley staff has offices in the LSI building off Airport Road and visible from Route 22.
Mohr, a Parkland High School, Class of '82, graduate, received a B.S. in Communications from California State Polytechnic University.
Mohr's experience includes more than 20 years in entertainment, advertising and digital businesses in Los Angeles. She created advertising and digital campaigns for leading companies such as Sun Microsystems and AT&T Wireless. Prior to that, comic book magnate Stan Lee hired her to redesign stanlee.net, winner of the 2000 Web Marketing Association Best of Show award.
"I love the people I work with," Mohr says of United Way. "They are so passionate and dedicated. I am humbled to serve next to them every day."
That includes David Lewis, recently-named President of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.
As David Lewis has said, '''If United Way didn't exist, we'd have to create it tomorrow,'" Mohr notes.
Information about United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley: unitedwayglv.org