United Way Of Bucks County Celebrates Community Impact At Newtown Event

The event was held at Bucks County Community College’s Newtown Township campus.

A photo from the event.
Credit: UW Bucks

The United Way of Bucks County gathered community members, elected officials, and business and civic leaders at its annual breakfast, also known as United for Good, earlier this month.

The May 5 event, which took place in a hybrid format, was held at Bucks County Community College’s Newtown Township campus.

During the event, the Falls Township-based nonprofit organization highlighted its significant accomplishments over the past year and introduced its newly appointed slate of board officers.

United Way of Bucks County officials took the opportunity to acknowledge and honor individuals and organizations that have made exceptional contributions to their community.

Leading the board as the new Board Chair will be Karen Johnson-Susko, Global Customer Care Director at Veolia Water Technologies & Solutions and formerly Corporate Secretary. She will be taking over from Paul Bencivengo. Matt Hanson, VP – Senior Regional Manager at Police and Fire Federal Credit Union, will assume the role of Vice Chair, Community Impact, while Bernard Tynes, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing & Impact Officer at Penn Community Bank, will serve as Vice Chair, Nominating Committee. Kristen Elder, a respected CPA and finance leader with a lengthy background in the pharmaceutical industry, will continue in her role as Treasurer. Paul Braun, Director of Business Development at Comcast Technology Solutions, has been appointed as the Corporate Secretary. The board also welcomed several newly elected members, including Julia Amo, MBA, PMP, a Business Leader and Strategist; Rick Battaglia, SVP, Commercial Banking at Penn Community Bank; Randy Beaman, VP, Relationship Manager, Commercial Banking at Univest Bank & Trust; and Jeffrey Lehocky, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at QNB Bank.

Matt Hanson of the Police and Fire Federal Credit Union was presented with the Board Excellence Award, while the local nonprofit organization, One House at a Time (OHAAT), received the United for Community Award. Julie Frantz, a dedicated community volunteer, was recognized with the United in Service Award, and Jeane Vidoni, President and CEO of Penn Community Bank, was honored with the United for Impact Award. Kate Fay, Executive Director of OHAAT, accepted the United for Community Award on behalf of her organization.

Bucks County Community College President Dr. Ganther and Penn Community Bank CEO Jeane Vidoni.
Credit: UW Bucks

In her acceptance speech, Fay expressed her gratitude for the partnerships that have enabled the children they serve to flourish.

“It’s so great to be in a room of what I feel are truly kindred spirits. We’re all here connected in terms of trying to serve the people in this community who need us most,” she said.

One of the most poignant moments of the event came from Elissa, a shopper at United Way of Bucks County’s HELP Center in Bristol Borough, who shared her emotional testimonial.

Elissa first approached the HELP Center when she found herself in need of emergency food assistance. Today, Elissa proudly owns a small business.

Moved by her experience, Elissa expressed her deep appreciation for the HELP Center and the United Way of Bucks County.

“The HELP Center is not merely a food pantry or a place to go when you need things for your home,” said Elissa. “It is the very embodiment of community. The United Way shows us all every day what it means to truly love your neighbor. My life is still not perfect, and I still struggle every day. But every day I get up and continue pushing forward knowing that no matter what, I have my family at United Way.”

UW Bucks CEO Marissa Christie, Visit Bucks County President Paul Bencivengo, and UW Bucks Board Chair Karen Johnson-Susko.
Credit: UW Bucks

In addition to the inspiring testimonials and award presentations, attendees were provided with insights into three key themes that underpin the United Way’s work: local impact, responsiveness, and a holistic approach.

Marissa Christie, president and CEO at United Way of Bucks County, used the occasion to announce plans for a new, expanded HELP Center. The new location was not announced.

“We want our new home to be the kind of space that rises up to meet people. We want every person who walks through the door to decompress a little, knowing that they will get help and be treated with kindness, dignity, and respect. You will hear more about this project over the next year. I sincerely hope I can count on you because we will need your help – but together we can get this done,” she said.

Christie concluded the event by encouraging community members to get involved with the United Way by signing up to volunteer through their website at

For those interested in viewing a recording of the event, it can be accessed on the United Way of Bucks County’s Facebook page at

Editor’s Note: Publisher Tom Sofield is a member of the United Way of Bucks County Board of Directors.

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