FARMINGTON — United Way of the Tri-Valley Area is at it again, making investments in Greater Franklin County through its Special Project grants. Recently, United Way awarded Mission at the Eastward (MATE) $5,000 to support the expansion of its Housing Ministry. The expansion is focused on meeting the growing need for wheelchair ramps so homeowners can safely stay independent in their own home. The ramps will be portable, and custom-made in sections so that they can be reassembled at other homes once they are no longer needed. The impact of these ramps is profound. A recent recipient’s reaction was captured in MATE’s grant application: “With tears of joy streaming down her face, she rolled down that ramp the moment it was finished, across the street to the church she would attend that weekend for the first time in six years.”

Lisa Laflin, executive director of United Way of the Tri-Valley noted, “We were especially pleased to contribute to MATE’s housing ministry expansion for a number of reasons, first, the organization is doing good work and we welcome the opportunity to support MATE for the first time. Also, MATE has a matching grant opportunity from the Sandy River Charitable Trust so our support can leverage other contributions.”

Another $1,000 Special Projects grant will help launch Written Woods, a five-week series of workshops for those ages 13 to 18 designed to inspire students to be thoughtful, engaged and perceptive leaders. The workshops will be held at Twice Sold Tales in Farmington. Applicant Amber Stone noted, “small rural communities such as ours play a vital role in the future of this country – a future which rests in the hands of our youth. It is up to small mill towns, river towns, mountain towns, one-intersection towns, brick and mortar towns, to figure out how to leverage our knowledge and skill into the spotlight. By focusing on raising confident, well-spoken, well-written, and caring teens, we are planting the seeds of great leadership and great representation for small-town U.S.A.”

They encourage applications from those who have a special project in mind. Visit

In addition to Special Projects grants, United Way has recently funded Giving Voice, a new literacy project that helps new readers self-publish books transcribed by Literacy Volunteers tutors and illustrated by local artists. These collaborations inspire a continued love of reading in students.

Hope Fund applicants have received just shy of $10,000 in funds to attend summer camps, participate in therapeutic recreational opportunities, take lessons, and join sports teams. To apply for The Hope Fund, visit

Visit United Way’s website ( or like them on Facebook ( to keep up-to-date on opportunities for funding and to follow the impact United Way is having in the region.

Volunteers finish a wheelchair ramp.

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