Joanne Bogrett, Chief Development Officer for the United Way of Bucks County

Joanne Bogrett, the United Way of Bucks ounty's Chief Development Officer joined our weekly meting this morning via Zoom.

Joanne has been described by former cients as being known for lasting connections both personally and professionally, She is an innovative fundraiser and team builder. Her deeply rooted ethical values are complemented with a desire to connect fledgling programs and the individuals and institutions who fund them. Influential, comfortable, and action-oriented in public speaking, she shares a similar personal story to the many under served. Her accountable accomplishments include fundraising over $25 million, embracing smaller projects for Veteran's, and hosting large scaled televised events. She is passionate about sustainability, continuity and compassion.

Over the years, Joanne has worked with many veterans’ organizations, service clubs including Rotary Clubs, prison inmates and those in need in Harlem.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March, Joanne has taken only one day off, and not even seen some of her adult children.

The stated mission of the United Way of Bucks County, as with other United Way organizations across the country,

creates opportunities for quality education, financial stability, and good health to ensure real, lasting change for individuals and our communities.

Their members believe that "we are all connected and that we all have a stake in making Bucks County a healthy and prosperous community.  We know that when we work together to advance the common good, we create a better life for all.

To advance the greater good, we focus on three key issues:  access to a quality education, a stable income, and good health – the building blocks of a great life.

All of our work is done in collaboration with diverse partners. Depending on the issue and how the community chooses to address it, United Way of Bucks County works with schools, government agencies, businesses, organized labor, financial institutions, community development corporations, voluntary and neighborhood associations, the faith community, and others"

In this year which has been defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the Bucks County United Way’s efforts have been focused on addressing the growing epidemic of food insecurity.  This is a tragic phenomenon which knows affecting people across all current and prior economic, social, gender or geographic boundaries. 

Yesterday, Joanne was participating in handing our turkeys, vegetables, fruits and other food stuffs in Solebury.  Some of these foods have been acquired at deeply discounted prices from, or sometimes donated by from local farms.

Other food distributions have been made using drive-thru locations, including St. Mary Medical Center, Quakertown and Bucks County Community College’s campus in Bristol.

We were surprised to hear that there are [particularly elderly] people within our communities who are petrified to even go grocery shopping.

Joanne shared how some of this work has been the “single greatest humbling experience” of her live.

100% of all funds which have been raised their COVID-19 related efforts have and continue to go directly into the programs, with no administrative deductions.

They organization has opened a Help Center at 194 Commerce Circle in Bristol, in conjunction with St. Mary Medical Center, the Opportunity Center of Bucks County and a local bank.  Among some of the items they try to stock for those in need are:

  • Bedding
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Weighted blankets
  • Shower organization racks
  • Curtains & Blinds (measure windows before visiting)
  • Area rugs
  • Toothbrushes
  • Body wash
  • Sanitary products

Although the vaccines are becoming available, for most people it could be months before they can get inoculated.  Further, many people are facing evictions as the programs and government financing programs which have prevented them have or will soon expire without new state and federal governmental assistance.

Other programs the Bucks United Way has been committed to are:

  • Collaborating with Philabundance and other county food banks.
  • A one-time emergency help program for people who have fallen behind on utility bills.
  • Providing cars for some eleven people who needed them to commute to first, second or third jobs and to be able to travel to make chemo treatment appointments.
  • Counselling people to help them before they find themselves living out of their cars.
  • Providing backpacks and other supplies for school children.
  • Providing backdrops for students forced to live in shelters to remove such stigmas when doing on-line learning.

Joanne mentioned that just last evening she received a call about a teen with cystic fibrosis and whose family couldn’t leave the house … who needed an iPad for his remote schooling.  By 8:00 this morning as our meeting was starting, the United Way had secured the iPad for the young man.

Many of us were amazed by both the needs in our county and also the efforts on the part of the United Way and many of the other agencies with which it collaborates in addressing those challenges.

The Club thanked Joanne for her time and information.