The Wright Center Supports the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties

The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education recently donated $10,000 to the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties in support of its annual campaign.

“The United Way and the people we serve every day are grateful for the ongoing support of The Wright Center,” said Gary W. Drapek, president and CEO of the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties. “Our missions to lift up underserved communities in the region are more important than ever as the global pandemic continues to affect many facets of our lives. This donation will lessen the impact of COVID-19 on those who can least afford it.”

The Wright Center cares for more than 30,000 patients at its eight primary care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties. The Wright Center for Community Health works to improve the health and welfare of Northeast Pennsylvania by improving access to patient-centric health care services, while The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education builds a sustainable and competent workforce of physicians.

Participating in the ceremonial check presentation ceremony at The Wright Center, from left, are Deborah Kolsovsky, chairperson, United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties’ annual campaign; Gary W. Drapek, president and CEO, United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties; Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and CEO, The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education, and Gerard Geoffroy, chairperson, The Wright Center for Community Health Board of Directors.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

The United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties is once again offering the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program to prepare local, state and federal income tax returns for FREE!  There are NO hidden fees or charges – this is a completely FREE Service designed to help people secure all the refunds and credits for which they are eligible.

How do I schedule an appointment?

There’s two ways to schedule an appointment:

  1. Schedule an appointment by clicking HERE
  2. Starting Monday, January 3rd, call 2-1-1 and speak to an agent that can book your appointment over the phone.
    • In the case 2-1-1 doesn’t connect, be sure to call 570.602.3133 to schedule your appointment.  Please leave a voicemail when/if prompted.

When does the VITA program start?

You can schedule your VITA appointment today!  The first day on the schedule for this current tax season will be Friday, February 4th.

What if I want to file my own taxes?

If you’d like to file your taxes on your own, The United Way offers help for those who are comfortable preparing their own taxes online. MyFreeTaxes, powered by TaxSlayer, is available nationwide and includes federal and unlimited state returns FOR FREE while avoiding restrictive eligibility criteria.  There is no age or geographic limitations.  MyFreeTaxes follows the IRS VITA program guidelines and target filers who generally earn around $57,000 or less, but filers with incomes over this threshold will not be blocked from using this FREE Software and will not be charged any fees!

Is VITA for me?

Our VITA volunteers will prepare state, local and federal tax returns for households and senior citizens from Northeast Pennsylvania that have income during 2021 of $57,000. Wage earners and non-wage earners are both eligible.

VITA by the numbers:

During the 2021 tax season, the United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program saved our tax clients $228,300 in fees as we filed 1,522 tax returns for free with $1,658,329 in federal refunds being returned to the community—and the budgets of hard-working area families.

Information about 2022 VITA appointments:

For a complete checklist of what you need for your tax drop-off, a schedule of this year’s appointments, and more CLICK HERE

FNCB Bank Donates $7,500 to United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties

FNCB Bank, locally based since 1910, has announced a $7,500 donation to United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties.

The United Way advances the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. FNCB Bank’s donation will touch the lives of many individuals and families in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The support of United Way is part of FNCB’s larger Community Caring initiative. As a true, local community bank, FNCB Bank is making a difference through volunteerism, donations and outreach programs.

United Way Announces 2022 Mike Munchak Community Service Scholarship is Now Open

The United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties is pleased to announce the availability of the 2022 Mike Munchak Community Services Scholarship to assist high school seniors from Lackawanna, Wayne or Pike Counties, PA who plan to continue their education at an accredited university, college, or trade school in a two or four-year degree program. If selected, the 2022 recipient will receive a one-year award of $6,300 to commemorate Munchak’s #63, retired by the Houston Oilers. Funding for the award comes from proceeds of the Mike Munchak Charity Golf Classic and will be presented at this year’s 26th annual tournament, slated for this upcoming June at the Country Club of Scranton.

A 2001 enshrinee in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Mr. Munchak’s career has earned him accolades as both a player and a coach, currently serving as the offensive line coach for the Denver Broncos. Yet, it is his work off the field that led to a scholarship program being established by the United Way to honor his long-standing commitment to his hometown of Scranton and the people of the area.

“For the past 25 years, we’ve been honored to work with Mike and we remain grateful to him for his unwavering commitment to the people of our community,” said Gary Drapek, president of the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties.

To be eligible for the scholarship, candidates must be actively involved in community service activities within programs/agencies receiving funds from the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, be full-time residents and/or students of a school district within Lackawanna, Wayne or Pike Counties, and be accepted by an accredited university, college or trade school, in a two or four-year degree program track, for the 2022/2023 school year.

Additional requirements include a demonstrated financial need, academic achievement, agency recommendation and a track record of community service.

Last year’s scholarship recipient was Molly Dougherty, a West Scranton High School graduate who served as President of the West Scranton High School Red Cross Club where she directed the club activities and various drives throughout her years of involvement.

Additionally, Ms. Dougherty was an active member with numerous organizations in her community including St. Joseph’s Center, Friends of the Poor, Mathew’s Mission, Knights of Columbus, Cinderella’s Closet, and many others.  She was a member of the National Honor Society, student liaison of the senior class, Miss Invader, Varsity Cross Country Captain, President of the Drama, Spanish and Chorus Clubs, Editor of the West Side Story, graduate of the Leadership Lackawanna’s Tomorrow’s Leaders Today program as well as an array of clubs and activities in which she was engaged.  The Scholarship Committee noted Molly’s superior GPA as well as the leadership qualities she exhibited throughout her time at West Scranton

To be considered, completed applications must be postmarked no later than March 31, 2022. A complete listing of eligibility requirements and the application are available for download at or by calling Frank Kincel at the United Way 570.343-1267 x233.

United Way Honors High Achievers of Toughest Campaign to Date

The United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties have awarded over 140 area businesses, employee groups, foundations and individuals for outstanding community service during the Annual Community Awards Celebration of Caring.

Acknowledging the work of the countless volunteers whose dedication helped push the United Way campaign to more than $3 million last year. “This was our most challenging campaign to date with the economy, let alone the world, coming to a complete halt with the fear of the pandemic looming throughout our 2020 campaign efforts.  With these difficult times, commitment to serving the people of our community and fighting for the education, financial mobility and health of our community is evident in the numerous awards being presented to these essential members of our community,” commented Gary Drapek, President and CEO of the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties.

With the campaign in full swing for 2021-2022, the United Way wanted to take this time to recognize the charitable efforts from generous community members that helped them achieve what seemed like an insurmountable goal.

The 9th Annual Rising Star Awards were presented to the fifteen small, mid-sized and large businesses with the most new or increased dollars.  The top five companies with one-49 employees were: Cable Associates, Inc.; Foley Law Firm; Genetti Manor; Scranton Primary Health Care Center; and Sordoni Construction Services.  The top five Rising Star companies with 50-99 employees were: Benco Dental Supply Company; DK Trading Diamond K; Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services; One Point; and United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA.  The top five Rising Star companies with 100 or more employees were AAA North Penn; The Dime Bank; Fidelity Bank; PNC Bank; and the P&G Paper Products Company – Mehoopany Plant.

The United Way also recognized the top 10 companies that contribute the most between a combination of the company themselves and their employees, known as the Pillars of Giving.  In no specific order, they were: Fidelity Bank; Gentex Corporation; Hendrick Manufacturing; the P&G Paper Products Company – Mehoopany Plant; Peoples Security Bank & Trust; PNC Bank; The Scranton Times-Tribune; UGI Utilities/UGI Energy Service and United Parcel Services/UPS Global.

The William E. Cockerill, Sr. Memorial Labor Award was presented to the Honorable James Connors along with his wife Susan Connors for their dedicated support of the United Way. The Joseph A. Mahon, Esq. Volunteer Award went to long-time United Way volunteers, Amy and Jim Fleming.