United Way Of Ulster County

“Our community was in need of a program designed specifically to help vulnerable women achieve their educational and career goals, and in so doing, improve the prospects for their families, especially their children. In collaboration with local agencies, we designed a women’s mentoring program that has proven that having a mentor to guide, advise, and encourage is a powerful instrument of change.” — Stacey Rein, President & CEO


The United Way of Ulster County’s primary mission is to build a stronger, healthier community. By raising and distributing funds to partner organizations, the United Way helps to ensure access to affordable childcare, housing, mental health, and substance abuse services, vocational and literacy training, and access to emergency assistance in Ulster County. United Way also provides technical assistance to local agencies and programs, regularly assesses community needs, develops new or expanded services to address identified needs, and coordinates community responses to local issues of importance.

One of the community needs identified by the United Way was women struggling to achieve academic and vocational success – women who may have been sidelined by domestic violence, incarceration, or substance abuse, as well as women living in poverty or otherwise lacking opportunity. When asked, many of these women reply that more than anything, what they need in their lives is a positive role model and emotional support. In response to this need, the United Way established the Raising HOPE (Help, Opportunity, Passion, Empowerment) mentoring program, which pairs participating women with a mentor who not only provides emotional support and encouragement, but guides the mentee in achieving her educational and career goals. The mentee-mentor relationship has proven over time to have a significant impact on women’s self-esteem, allowing them to move more confidently toward a successful future.

During 2019, the Dyson Foundation provided a project support grant, under the theme of Safety Net funding, to support the Raising HOPE mentoring program.