United Way Port Clinton program receives national award


In November United Way of Greater Toledo submitted an application to the Duke CASE Change Academy to expand their Cradle to Career work to create a community wide mentorship program here in Ottawa County.  This was a national competition to receive consultative services from Chip and Dan Heath, best-selling authors of Decisive, Switch, and Made to Stick. Tuesday morning the Heaths’ Change Academy announced that the Ottawa County Cradle to Career program was one of their six selections. 

“It was possible for United Way in Ottawa County to do this because of the collaborations and partnerships we have with our partners in schools and industry. When we put the application together we built in on the mentoring project in B-C-S Schools and Shanna Strouse will be part of the team that will go to Duke University along with Karen Mathison (United Way of Greater Toledo President/CEO) and me,” said Chris Galvin, Area Director of United Way in Ottawa County.

“Couple this with the dialogue we’ve encouraged between area employers and schools and we are on our way to making a real difference for all ‘our kids’. Dr. Robert Putnam put us in the national spotlight.  Now, we have an opportunity to show what we can do to make lasting social change for the future of Port Clinton and Ottawa County,” said Galvin.

From Dan Heath’s announcement on Tuesday morning: 

“In September, my CASE colleagues and I unveiled a brand new program called the Duke CASE Change Academy. We received 34 outstanding applications for the Academy’s six slots, which left us with a tough decision to make. Today I am thrilled to announce the winners. Each organization will bring three leaders to the Academy, for a total of 18 participants in the cohort. These leaders are fighting to make an impact in their communities—in education, in health care, in the economy. To meet their goals, they’ll have to overcome daunting obstacles. Over the six months of the program, we hope you’ll follow our story on this blog as we fight for social change. We’ll be open about what we’re learning—both what’s working and what’s not—in hopes that our insights and our mistakes will prove helpful to you. But for now, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the talents and aspirations of 6 great organizations.”

“Port Clinton, Ohio, has been battered by a seemingly endless stream of bad news. A crumbling manufacturing base. Declining job opportunities. Stagnant wages. Not to mention the associated social ills: Divorce rates have quadrupled and juvenile-delinquency rates have spiked. A recent New York Times article depicted Port Clinton as the face of the ‘crumbling American dream.’ 

The people of Port Clinton are sick and tired of the bad news. And the team at the United Way is ready to lead the comeback. Their vision is a ‘cradle to career’ framework that keeps the future bright for Port Clinton youth. On tap first is a community-wide mentorship program that will match youth 1-on-1 with adults who are ready to serve and support them—to ensure that their dreams don’t ‘crumble.’

Will the mentorship program be enough to create some early momentum? Is it possible to reverse such daunting social and economic forces? The obstacles are sobering, but this is a story worth watching. Don’t bet against a community with its back against the wall.”

The other programs in the cohort are the national Teach for America initiative; Community Solutions - Brownsville Partnership of Brooklyn, NY; Year Up–National Capital Region of Washington; The YMCA of Greater Charlotte, NC; and Communities Foundation of Texas. 

For more information on the Heath brothers and the CASE challenge, go to For more information on United Way in Ottawa County, go to‎.

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