United Way of Lancaster County’s Level Up & Launch Grant Program

I attended the presentation of United Way of Lancaster County’s “Level Up & Launch” Grant Initiative this past week. I assisted in creating the visual marketing materials for the grant. The biggest task for this project was communicating the grant levels in a clear manner. Grantees have the opportunity get additional funds beyond their initial grant if they can fundraise or utilize their own revenue to “match” the first grant. In doing so, they will receive a second grant from The United Way. Most grants require an organization to equally match the amount of the grant being given. This grant does not require a match, but rewards an organization if they are able to do so, by doubling funds and providing a second grant.

I met with Kevin Ressler and Maddie Seiler; we had multiple brainstorming sessions. There were prints made for table-tops, a poster, and an email signature was created to spread the word about the funding opportunity.

February 28th – March 4th [Week 7]

On Monday, I was given the task of creating an infographic for a new grant program that will be presented to the public by The United Way of Lancaster County on March 10th at Tellus360. The infographic had to communicate a tiered system of grants that depend on the grantee’s commitment to fundraising and/or utilizing their own revenue as collateral for an additional grant (who wouldn’t wager on that, if they had the funds?!)

Initially, the ask was made via Microsoft Teams, by Kevin Ressler, the CEO of The United Way of Lancaster County. He had previously sent a sketch via Teams of an idea he had for this grant program. Afterwards, the program received backing from the Board, and an event at a local venue was set a week and a half out. I was asked to create fliers and an accompanying poster for the event. It would need to be completed quickly to save on the printing costs.

Utilization of words

How to ensure the viewer understands the grant of $200,000 will be divided among the grantees
Additional funds that were not outlined wihtin the graphic because of spacing / clarity

Full Description of Internship

The student will be supervised by Madeline Seiler, Communications Director of the United Way of Lancaster County. They will contribute to the development of digital assets that will allow the organization to realize their goal of achieving systemic social change within the county, and to educate its residents about public policy and global issues beyond county lines. As United Way Worldwide is now placing intense focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, they will work with department directors to design marketing materials that will promote these ideologies.

February 21 – February 25 [Week 6]

The night of the 24th, I spent 2.5 hours on the one-pager for Economic Mobility. I did not have a lot of copy for this design available to me, but was able to utilize copy from other United Way sites, including the global site. Since this copy is straight from the United Way, there shouldn’t be any reason in utilizing it.

I wanted to use a photo that showed economic mobility in a creative way. I was thinking of financial freedom – looking ahead. In searching for that type of image, I came across one of a couple framing something in front of them with their fingers. I have been using large graphic editorial style photos, so this fits in nicely with the rest of the design.

I will be sending this to Madeline Seiler in the morning for review.

Febrary 14 – February 18 [Week 5]

This week, I was called on by the CEO of The United Way of Lancaster County, Kevin Ressler, to create a visual representation of a new grant program. The turn-around time on the project was quick, he needed the finished piece within the next 48 hours. I spent 5 hours within the next two days to meet his deadline.

The concept of the grant program was provided to me via Powerpoint, and a flow chart. Kevin wanted to visualize the flow of the program, and the opportunities each grantee would have to receive an additional grant, if they were able to raise funds up to the amount of the initial grant. By doing so, they would then receive a second grant that matched the funds they raised. Not confusing at all! So, I knew I wanted to show the flow of funds and the opportunity of receiving multiple “flows” of money, with the grantees at the center of the piece.

It was also important to display the inter-disciplinary possibilities for the grantees. The grants will be given to organizations dedicated to four areas – education, innovation pilots, health & economic mobility. There is a possibility that some organizations will have missions that focus on two or more of those areas, and overlap is possible. I showed this through using transparencies and blending modes in Adobe Illustrator, and equally linking four circles.

I outlined the steps of the grant program within the infographic. There are four steps in total, with the first one being the inclusion of “backbone” support grants. These are commitments United Way of Lancaster County will make to support the grantees throughout the program, and can include DEI intiatives, technology supports, etc.. The second is the initial grants for the four areas of focus. Each area of focus will have $50,000 total. The goal is to fund as many small organizations / budding non-profits as we can, instead of funding one large project. The intent of this project is to ignite the community and work toward a common goal, together. 

Since UW has just four colors in their palette, I used transparencies to create depth to the infographic. To communicate community involvement in the grant program, I used a stock illustration of charity donations that shows several sets of hands holding jars of money, credit cards & coins. I noted that this illustration utilizes different skin tones, and appreciate the inclusive intentionality of the graphic. 

One theme that I continue to hold as a common theme in the graphic work I do is a nod to hand-painted signs and poster graphics. I love the bold feel of both, as well as the human element. Since the United Way has always upheld the importance of the community, I feel that their visual communication should do so, too. 

At the end of the week, I continued to work on the Stacked Folder project. 

February 7th – February 11 [Week 4]

The United Way has a full-day event happening on February 11 (2/11) for 2-1-1 day. 211 is a free phone number that provides assistance with basic needs like food, health care, education services, etc. It is powered through United Way funding. I had previously designed an email signature for MLK day, and offered to design an email signature for 211 day.

Work on the stacked folder continues this week. At the beginning of the week, the final parts of the VITA one-pager were approved, and we have our first fully approved document. Now that I have an idea for a template / structure of the design, I will be able to work much more quickly through the remaining elements of the folder.

I have an idea for the front of the folder, but am not sure if it would be approved. As we often forget that the United Way of Lancaster is for the entire county, I thought it would be interesting to add the names of all townships, municipalities and villages that make up Lancaster county. I would use these as a mask against an image of Lancaster.

On a recent photo gathering walking tour through the city, I took several photos that may be perfect for this type of project.


Why I Wanted to Intern at The United Way of Lancaster County

As I became more interested in social innovation and what that meant to me, I thought of how I could translate this idea to a visual communications internship with the Communications & Marketing Department of the United Way. Even though I am an employee there, I have not had much involvement in the art and design arm of the business. My main role is with housing services; it’s a role of data analysis and advocacy (of which I equally love).

The United Way as an overarching “brand” is very specific in how their marketing must look. Fonts, colors, and even photos are closely examined in their brand guidelines – they want a seamless UW experience across the globe.

While some designers would find this limiting, I welcome the challenge. A lot can be done with a small palette of colors, if you use blending tools & transparency right.

United Way of Lancaster’s Mission:

To advance the education, economic mobility, and health of our community by mobilizing resources, people, and organizations.


An equitable Lancaster County where every individual has an opportunity to succeed, and the entire community thrives as a result.

  • Collaboration – We will work together with others toward a common goal.
  • Compassion – We will treat everyone with decency and empathy.
  • Empowerment – We will use our collective knowledge, skill, confidence and authority to be an agent for change.
  • Innovation – We will take action to create ideas and execute them.
  • Integrity – We will honor our commitments and own our actions.
  • Respect – We will appreciate diverse perspectives; treat all ideas as valuable; have honest, open dialogue; and provide opportunities for all to give input.