From the Board President | 2023
Since 1973, Lifeline has served the residents of Lake County through programs to fight poverty and help low-income residents become more self-sufficient. Our mission has been our guiding force year after year. 2020 was no exception. Despite the overwhelming challenges of the COVID -19 pandemic, Lifeline persisted and marched on.
In 2020, the Energy Assistance and Community Services programs addressed the needs of 2,460 households. Our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program prepared 129 tax filings and brought in $186,271 back to the community. Our Volunteer Guardianship Program, a partnership with the Lake County Probate Court, served 74 wards. This program helps protect the health and well-being and rights of our senior citizens and other vulnerable populations.
The generosity of the Lake County community did not falter during the pandemic. We could not be more grateful. Despite being unable to hold our annual fundraiser event, in person; we did hold a very successful Virtual Dancing Under the Stars (DUS) Raffle. This event was held in partnership with the Family Planning Association of NEO, a Division of Signature Health. A first for both organizations, the Virtual DUS Raffle raised over $65,000. Proceeds from the event will be equally shared amongst our two organizations and used to fund many community programs. I would like to thank our Premier Sponsor, Ric Selby, for his support which has allowed us to continue this beloved fundraising event, despite the challenges faced due to the Pandemic social gathering restrictions.
Lifeline certainly was not going to be stopped due to COVID-19. New programs were launched to further enhance our goals and mission in 2020. The Kinship Navigator Program was initiated. This program helps serve the needs of individuals raising children who are not their own. Over 200 Lake County Families were assisted in 2020. Further addressing needs of the children, Lifeline was invited to participate and partner with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, along with Governor DeWine’s Imagination Library, to become the Lake County Imagination Library affiliate. Promoting literacy, the program was launched in the Fall of 2020 and has served over 1,500 Lake County children monthly. On January 1, 2020, Lifeline was named the interim Community Action Agency for Geauga County. We immediately opened an office in Newbury to begin serving the needs of the Geauga County residents and bring our mission and services to those who live in Geauga County. Lifeline could not be stopped in 2020!
COVID-19 changed everything for so many and Lifeline was not any different. However, through several million dollars in state and federal relief funds released due to the pandemic Lifeline was able to help Lake and Geauga County resident directly impacted. Efforts that arose from that funding included:
- Partnering with Laketran, the Cleveland Foodbank, Lake County Council on Aging, RSVP and Lake County Senior Services Office to provide a home delivery service for groceries and later a drive-thru produce pick up program for Lake County’s seniors; keeping them safe and fed.
- A traveling WiFi service in partnership with Painesville City Local Schools to assure students without WiFI could continue to learn remotely.
- PPE Kits for resident of Lake and Geauga County.
- PPE kits along with funding to our local Homeless shelter and CODE Blue shelter for extended hours during the Stay at Home orders.
- Partnering with Fair Housing Resource Center to provide relief funding for rent, mortgage and utilities.
The Lifeline Board is busy planning for 2021 and beyond. We will begin developing a new strategic plan to see our organization through 2024 with new goals. This summer, we will conduct the biennial Community Needs Assessment, which will provide us an opportunity to examine the needs that may have changed in the community as a result of the pandemic and will be used to guide our strategic plan and future programs. In August we will host the 2nd Dancing Under the Stars Virtual Raffle, building on the success of the 2020 Virtual Raffle. We are excited for our 2nd Virtual event. Stay tuned to see what amazing prizes we have in store.
As a Lake County resident, I am both humbled at the amazing accomplishments seen in 2020 in the face of such adversity and am honored to serve as the 2020 Board President. I am excited to work with my fellow Board members, the Lifeline staff, and our Executive Director, Carrie Dotson as we continue to serve against the fight of poverty in both Lake and Geauga County. It is a true honor.
About The Board
Lifeline’s Board of Directors is a diverse group of public officials, private citizens, and business owners. To accurately reflect the population of Lake and Geauga Counties, our board representatives also include low income, minorities, and mental health advocates. It is the tradition of Community Action to engage low-income populations in the management of their local Community Action Agency. Our Board feels strongly that it is important for our clients to have a voice on our Board to actively advocate on their behalf. We are proud that our membership reflects that.
Lifeline’s Board also strives to accurately reflect the population of Lake and Geauga Counties while also maintaining a Board with a diverse set of skills and resources.
Lifeline Board meetings are held at 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month and we welcome public comments at the start of each meeting.
Current Board Members
Matt Armand- Public Sector
Matt was appointed by the Lake County Board of Commissioners
Rene’ Aston- Public Sector
Rene’ was appointed by the City of Painesville
Jennilynn Banks, Secretary- Representative of Low-Income Populations
Jennilynn was appointed by the Lake County Department of Job & Family Services
Aaron Burko- Representative of Low-Income Populations
Aaron was appointed by Crossroads Health
Christina Corsi- Private Sector
Christina was appointed by the Lakeland Community College
Pam Fraser- Private Sector
Pam was appointed by the Western Reserve Junior Service League
Sean Kramer, President- Private Sector
Sean was appointed by Lake Erie College
Adam Litke- Public Sector
Adam was appointed by the Congressman David Joyce
Matt Maier- Representative of Low-Income Populations
Matt was appointed by LakeTran
Ryan McGinnis- Representative of Low-Income Populations
Ryan was appointed by Ravenwood Health
Christine Shoop, Treasurer- Public Sector
Christine was appointed by the City of Painesville
Kate Stein- Representative of Low-Income Populations
Kate was appointed by the St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Mary’s Church in Painesville
Brittany Sustar, Vice President- Private Sector
Brittany was appointed by University Hospitals Geauga
Christopher Tucci- Public Sector
Christopher was appointed by Lake County Probate Judge Mark Bartolotta
Sarah Wade- Private Sector
Sarah was appointed by The Lubrizol Corporation
Robert Weger- Public Sector
Robert was appointed by the Lake County Mayors & Managers Association
Sarah Welch- Representative of Low-Income Populations
Sarah was appointed by Geauga Metropolitan Housing Authority