What does United Way of Erie County do?

United Way of Erie County is working to reduce poverty in our region by improving community conditions and creating opportunities for a better life for everyone. We mobilize people and organizations from across the community who bring the passion, resources and expertise needed to get things done. United Way of Erie County is a local organization that is accountable to our community. We are governed by a local board of directors and all decisions are made at the local level.Thanks to the generous community support we receive, United Way helps improve the lives of one out of every three people in Erie County each year. Last year alone, more than 100,000 friends and neighbors in our region were touched by United Way.

What is United Way’s current focus?

Erie Free Taxes
Do you make less than $55,000 per year?  If so, you can get free help filing your taxes with Erie FREE Taxes.  The program helps eligible low and moderate income wage-earners to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by providing free tax preparation services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA).
To file your taxes with help for free online, click here.
With help in-person filing taxes for free call 1-888-829-5680 to schedule a free tax filing appointment.
For more information, call 814-456-2937 x236
or email cheryl@unitedwayerie.org.

Imagination Library


It sounds almost too simple to be true, but when you read regularly with your children during their first years, you are giving them the biggest boost toward a successful education they will ever get!

Each month, a new, carefully selected book is mailed in your child’s name directly to your home. They look forward to new and exciting reading adventures from the Imagination Library until they turn 5 years old, as long as you remain a resident of Erie County. Should your child move outside Erie County, they do exit the program. However, be sure to check the Dollywood Foundation website for an Imagination Library in your new community!

The Imagination Library is a FREE gift to our children. All you have to do is read to your children.

Click here to check out the Imagination Library brochure.


All children in Erie County, Pennsylvania from the day of birth until their 5th birthday are eligible!


Books begin arriving at your home, eight to ten weeks after your completed registration form has been received and continue until your child turns 5 or you move out of Erie County. If your child’s address changes, you must contact United Way of Erie County(814) 456-2937, in order to continue receiving books.


To maximize the impact of the Imagination Library, United Way of Erie County created Reading Buddies, a program that gives parents and other caring adults guidance and tips on early childhood reading. Developed by local reading specialists, Reading Buddies focuses on ways to increase the love of reading in young children.

The Reading Buddies program techniques are simple and proven! Parents and caring adults receive helpful tips and information on making the most of reading with their children. This leads to children being prepared for kindergarten and success in school! Children are welcome to attend Reading Buddies events, with activities provided in a separate, supervised area during the adult training. To attend an event near you, check out the Reading Buddies Calendar!


PA 2-1-1 Service

PA 2 1 1 Northwest is part of the national 2 1 1 Call Centers initiative that seeks to provide an easy-to-remember telephone number, chat, text, and a web resource for finding health and human services– for everyday needs and in crisis situations.

PA 2 1 1 Northwest is brought to you by a partnership among local United Way organizations, local county government, and human service providers in the Northwest region, along with PA 2-1-1, and United Way of Pennsylvania. United Way of Erie convenes the PA 2-1-1 Northwest Advisory Council, a coalition of local lead agencies, which provides oversight of PA 2-1-1 Northwest. 2-1-1 staff work closely with government and provider agencies to ensure important local program information is accessible through our helpline when it is most needed.

Every day, highly trained 2‑1‑1 call specialists provide referrals to:

  • Basic Human Needs Resources: food banks, shelters, rent and utility payment assistance
  • Physical and Mental Health Resources: crisis intervention services, support groups, counseling
  • Employment Support: financial assistance, job training, education programs
  • Support for Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities: home-delivered meals, transportation, health care
  • Youth and Child Care Programs: after school programs, summer camps, mentoring, protection services
  • Regional Disaster Preparation:  Those who contact 2-1-1 gain free, confidential access to thousands of programs and services that can help improve the quality of their lives. Help is available by calling 2 1 1. TTY and language services are available in more than 170 languages and dialects. 2-1-1 can also be reached by texting your zip code to 898-211 or chatting with a 2-1-1 specialist through the website. Resources are also available through the website 24 hours a day, seven days a week (Click here to search now.)

For more information about us or our partners or PA 2‑1‑1 Northwest, please contact us directly at 2‑1‑1.

Additional Information

United Way of Erie offers much more than those items listed above.  They offer help with prescription discounts, education assistance, and family stability just to name a few.  To find out more information about these programs, click here.

Click here for their contact page.

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