Staff Profile: United Way of Medina County director of Community Impact strives for solutions

By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: While we focus on our work in the community and rarely shine a spotlight on ourselves, this series is designed to put faces and names to the great and challenging work United Way does every day.

Still in her first year at United Way of Medina County, Angela Niemiec is working to strengthen the organization’s impact and partnership with the rural community.

She’s the director of community impact and wears many hats since the agency has a small staff. Angela is constantly looking for ways to engage her community, diversify and support funded programs and write grants to gain funding for strategy partnerships.

Many hats

Niemiec and the United Way staff are working to reach community goals pertaining to income stability, early childhood education and youth engagement through funded programs.

Angela oversees these funded programs and ensures agencies are meeting goals, addressing community needs and helping “move the needle” by working towards solutions for social issues in Medina. She also promotes volunteerism in the community by partnering with volunteer committees and agencies.

Another “hat” Angela wears at United Way is grant writer, where she secures funds for program partners.

“My position encompasses three main things — working with our program partners and focusing on community solutions, promoting and enhancing volunteer opportunities and researching grants and other opportunities for additional funding to address our community issues.”

Striving for solutions

“My background is varied; I’ve worked at nonprofits in the past, in health care as well as government” she said. “But one common thread with all my professional roles, one that motivates and excites me is working with people and solving problems.”

Her career path has taken her from Ohio to Texas and back again —working for the city of Austin before heading back north. She previously worked for MetroHealth and Menorah Park, before her move south, which made her return to Ohio an easy transition. Ready to be back in a smaller community, she jumped at the United Way opening in Medina.

“I actually started by master’s certificate in community development and social entrepreneurship,” she said. “This position was all the things I’ve loved about previous positions. It seemed like a really challenging job, something I was very interested in, so it was a perfect fit.”

No matter which hat she’s wearing, Niemiec is drawn to strengthening her community, and creating solutions to the socioeconomic problems around her.

“I like to work in community development and community engagement because I’m constantly seeking ways to create opportunities to make life better for people,” she said. “When I found this program, I felt it was the next logical step in my career.”

Her position at United Way also allows her to work with diverse programming, impacting everyone from youth to seniors in the organization’s priority areas.

Outside of work, she loves playing and watching sports and is a fan of all Cleveland teams. She volunteers at the local humane society and has three pets herself — a cat named Baker and two dogs, Keller and Waila.

No matter her position, Niemiec’s goal has remained the same: impacting the lives of those around her. While she’s only been at United Way a short time, she has continued to broaden the organization’s impact and strengthen its partnerships throughout the area.

“For me it’s rewarding because everyone has to work, but I’d rather do something that’s meaningful and can actually impact people’s lives and make their lives better — rather than just making money. I feel like I’m making an impact on people’s lives and that’s important to me.”

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