On a Mission

to build a better community

The Shelby County United Way is on a mission to build a better community starting from birth through adulthood.

Over the past few years, we have established new evidence-based, community-wide initiatives to Sidney and Shelby County.

Imagination Library - Focuses on Childhood Literacy

Infant to 5 Years Old

In collaboration with the Shelby County Libraries and many community partners, we successfully launched Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in 2015. Imagination Library is an early literacy program for children under the age of 5. At no cost to the family, an age appropriate book is mailed monthly to the family’s address. Studies show children enrolled in Imagination Library are better prepared for kindergarten, are read to more often, and have more books and visits to the local libraries than children not enrolled. Wilson Health enrolls infants at the birthing center. Through the program’s first 3 years over 60,000 books have been mailed to Shelby County kids under the age of 5.

Visit imaginationlibrary.com and click "Register My Child".

Dad and two kids reading

The IMPACT Program - Family Counseling

Pre-School to Middle School

I.M.P.A.C.T., Imagine Making Positive Accountable Changes Together, is a program developed to proactively identify school age children who are facing obstacles towards academic, social, and community success. This preventative program allows families to participate in the IMPACT Program and receive support, resources, and counseling to meet the needs of each unique child and family. Students and their families are referred from their local school district. Professional services are provided by the Family Resource Center. In collaboration with the Shelby County United Way, Judge William Zimmerman and Court Liaison Amy Simindinger developed this unique and successful program. From the program’s inception, the number of youth 15 years old and under entering the legal system and assigned a probation officer is down more than 60%

Character Playbook - Building Healthy Relationships

6th-8th Grade

Character Playbook is an innovative digital course that uses evidence-based strategies to educate students on how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships during their critical middle school years. Character Playbook is comprised of six modules that cover key concepts of positive character development, social-emotional learning (SEL), and building healthy relationships. This course will allow students to engage with true-to-life scenarios that include bystander intervention strategies and positive relationship examples.

The course aligns with National Health Education Standards, CASEL Social and Emotional Learning Competencies, and Common Core Standards. Course Module Topic Areas include: Analyzing Influences, Understanding and Managing Emotions, Communicating Effectively, Resolving Conflicts, Stepping In, and Making Decisions.


Workforce Partnership - Inspiring Students for the Workplace

7th Grade through High School

The Workforce Partnership is a non-profit organization supported by over 50 business partners, including the Shelby County United Way. Their goal is to build a strong workforce throughout Shelby County, exposing students and the community to all the various career opportunities in Shelby County, as well as developing skills that will allow students to become successful in employment and college. SCUW initially supported the Workforce Partnership with a special project grant to help with the state of the art classroom at Sidney High School. In addition, SCUW has sponsored the Career Explorations Academy, a career fair of local businesses and corporations for middle and high school students throughout Shelby County.

The Workforce Partnership and the Shelby County United Way have collaborated in the creation of a Career Coach position. This individual works with students not planning on continuing their education, currently not enrolled at the Career Center, and not enlisting in the military. The role of the Career Coach is to work with each eligible senior 1 on 1 to assess their skills and interests and provide employers that are hiring that match that skill set. Expected outcomes include seniors earning career wages with benefits immediately after high school and better career matches for both the student and the employer helping with overall retention rates.

We fund partner agencies and programs that assist in establishing building blocks
for a good quality of life and a strong community.

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby & Darke Co.
  • Shelby County CASA/GAL
  • Clear Creek Farm
  • Shelby County Opportunity School-MRESC
  • Miami Valley Council Boy Scouts of America
  • Shelby County Arc
  • Wilma Valentine Child Care
  • YMCA Child Development Center
  • Catholic Social Services-Counseling and Mental Health Services
  • Catholic Social Services-Senior Health
  • Compassionate Care
  • Rehabilitation Center for Neurological Development
  • SafeHaven
  • Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County
  • Agape Distribution
  • Alpha Community Center
  • Mercy Mission House
  • New Choices Domestic Violence Shelter
  • Samaritan Works
  • STAR House
  • Shelby County Victim Services
  • Character Playbook
  • Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
  • I.M.P.A.C.T. Program
  • Shelby County 211
  • Workforce Partnership Career Coach

Special Projects

Special Project Grants are available to non-profit organizations, churches, and/or government agencies that are driving impact programming in the community’s critical or more pressing needs. For example, funding is awarded to fight food insecurity in Shelby County through weekend backpack programs, food pantries, and soup kitchens.



POWER, our Women’s Initiative group, allocates over $20,000 a year in grants to programs and initiatives that benefit children and families in Shelby County.


Student United Way

The Student United Way allocates $10,000 a year in grants to programs for children ages 0-18.

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