The Journal Gazette
Thursday, December 02, 2021 1:00 am

United Way bolsters neighborhoods

Joins with Bridge of Grace for initiative in Pettit-Rudisill

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

United Way of Allen County announced Wednesday a new initiative focused on building resources in the Pettit-Rudisill Neighborhood.

Strong Neighborhoods will also focus on creating collaborations at a neighborhood level, a news release said. United Way is partnering with Bridge of Grace and the neighborhood's association on the pilot initiative.

“Through Strong Neighborhoods, United Way will strive to build relationships and collaborate with residents, utilize individual's strengths and talents to help neighbors, convene available community assets, identify potential growth opportunities, and remove barriers for people to improve the overall well-being of themselves and their community,” a news release says.

United Way of Allen County said strong communities are made up of people who actively participate and help make decisions and implement change and development around the neighborhood, which aligns with Strong Neighborhoods' goals.

“We are grateful that United Way of Allen County has chosen our neighborhood for their Strong Neighborhoods initiative, and we are excited about the prospect of connecting with our residents more effectively,” said Laurie Hapner, board member of the Pettit-Rudisill Neighborhood Association.

Javier Mondragon, founder and CEO of Bridges of Grace, said he is looking forward to his organization's contributions to the program.

“We are excited to partner with United Way and the Pettit-Rudisill neighborhood to share our knowledge, lived experience, and work together to gather the strengths and voices of residents so they may gain ownership and participate in the revitalization of their own community,” he said.

United Way of Allen County conducted community conversations in 2016 and 2020 to connect with area residents about what they think is important in their community. In both instances, most residents said they wanted to live in a safe community where they are accepted and feel connected, the United Way said.

“Strong Neighborhoods allows us to tackle community issues at a grassroots level,” said Matthew Purkey, president and CEO of United Way of Allen County.

“We will strategically and intentionally address issues identified by the neighborhood residents and look for opportunities that could align with our four priority areas of educational opportunities, food security, housing stability, and mental health access.”

For more information about the Strong Neighborhoods program, email Ruthie Hall, director of community initiatives, at

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