Joining forces for the greater good – superheroes do it all the time. Now, in the Pocono region, we can see that merger on a down-to-earth level.

Pocono Alliance and the United Way of Monroe County, two humanitarian nonprofits, have announced their plan to integrate as a single organization. “The United Way and Alliance boards came to the conclusion that by combining our efforts, we can expand our reach, enhance our community’s resources, and strengthen our local impact,” enthuses Michael Albert, President and CEO of United Way of Monroe County.  

Both establishments, according to Pocono Alliance Executive Director Michael Tukeva, are bound by a shared goal: providing essential services to those who need them most. “Whether we are encouraging early childhood screenings and education or guiding individuals on life improvement, our institutions are determined to help citizens become a circle of synergy and pride,” he says.

For Tukeva, it’s about empowering the powerless while impacting future generations. “With solutions that have far-reaching effects, we’re dedicated to turning negative into positive while striving to reconcile inequalities.”

When it comes to addressing poverty, both charities talk the talk, and walk the walk. A breakthrough approach to curbing the cycle of indigence examines the matter from several points of view. Identifying hardship causes, as well as the hidden rules of economic class, helps clients formulate plans and accomplish goals as they move from poverty to self-sufficiency. “People who once felt hopeless or ignored are making decisions about moving ahead,” Tukeva declares. “They’re discussing ideas about the future, and teaming with like-minded souls who can help them realize their dreams.”

Volunteerism within the collective entity will assume a couple different forms. Becoming a committee member can help bring people together to identify needs and work toward solutions. Offering time and skills, moreover, should aid in scheduling fundraisers and other events.

If residents don’t know how to access health and human service information, they can turn to an Alliance-established hotline. Here, a vessel of facts, from support groups and food pantry locations to transportation needs and consumer protection initiatives, are a few keystrokes away. Referral specialists at this number will connect callers with resources on the local, state, and national levels.

One of Pocono Alliance’s tangible results was the construction of a special playground that proves children of all abilities are able to have fun. And all kinds of people helped make Crossing Abilities possible. Nestled in Mountain View Park and operated by Pocono Township, this facility is the achievement of banks, churches, schools, and restaurants whose outpouring turned an idea into fruition. “By rolling up our sleeves to work on day-to-day problems – and also keeping an eye on the bigger picture for tomorrow – we make a positive influence on our friends and neighbors,” says Tukeva. 

“I am really proud of the feedback we’ve received from our partners,” Albert adds. “Indeed, we truly believe that together we can leverage more resources from outside the county, that our team will gain greater expertise and capacity to address social issues, and we can do so in a more efficient way.” So, while charity may begin at home, its progressive nature doesn’t always involve writing a check or dropping clothes into a donation bin.

In April, the not-for-profits will officially adopt a new moniker, Pocono Mountains United Way, and Tukeva will lead as its President and CEO. Albert will serve as an interim consultant.

Michael Tukeva
Executive Director, Pocono Alliance
301 McConnell St, Stroudsburg, PA
(570) 517-3953
mtukeva@monroecountypa.gov

By: Tom Eccleston