Merger Of United Ways Great And Small
Merger Of United Ways Great And Small

One of the largest United Way affiliates in the nation, and one of the smallest, will combine operations. After several months of discussions, the boards of United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) and United Way of Putnam County (UWPC) have voted to function as United Way of Central Indiana, serving the areas of Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Marion, Morgan and Putnam counties.

The Indianapolis-based UWCI last year reported revenue of $79 million, and net assets of $167 million, according to its IRS Form 990. UWPC reported less than $60,000 in total revenue, including net assets of $543,384, for 2019, the latest tax form available. Previously, Central Indiana served six counties and now will serve seven, adding Putnam, just west of Indianapolis. There are 47 affiliates of United Way across Indiana.

Merger discussions began late last fall. Both boards unanimously approved the merger in March and the organizations now are in the process of integrating. Legal documents will be filed in the coming weeks, with state approval anticipated before the end of the fiscal year June 30, according to Greg Fennig, chief marketing, communications and community relations officer for United Way of Central Indiana. “From an operations standpoint, we’re working together now and will continue to do that,” he said.

The lone employee of Greencastle, Ind.-based UWPC, Executive Director Chris Flegal, will join UWCI’s team of 100 employees, effective April 30, as director of community relations for Putnam, Morgan and Hendricks counties. One of UWCI’s community relations positions working in a county adjacent to Putnam County is retiring, so the timing and concept was right, Fennig said.

UWPC board and committee members will stay involved as key advisors and advocates for the people of Putnam County. UWPC’s office will close and Flegal will remain active and present in the community.

Putnam County’s six board members will become advisory members but Fennig anticipates that some will be recommended to the nominating committee of Central Indiana’s 50-plus member board. There are no specific seats on the board assigned for certain counties, he said, but when board members are appointed each year, geographic diversity is one of the key criteria.

United Way of Central Indiana last year invested $58 million to serve the needs of the community at large. Both UWCI and UWPC currently invest in similar initiatives to help provide the essentials that stabilize people in crisis, eliminate barriers to quality education, and improve the upward mobility of families – all with a focus on populations in poverty and ALICE (Asset Limited. Income Constrained. Employed).

United Way of Central Indiana was originally established as a Community Chest in 1918 and changed names over the years to reflect its growth. Hancock was the first county to join United Way — then called United Way of Greater Indianapolis — in 1962. Morgan, Hamilton and Hendricks counties followed a few years later, with Boone County the last to merge with United Way in 1970. By 1986, the organization was renamed United Way of Central Indiana.