ELKHART — The local United Way will expand by joining forces with its sister group in LaGrange County.

The United Way of Elkhart County is merging with the United Fund of LaGrange County, the local organization announced in a news release Monday.

The move follows work over the past year to explore such a partnership. After the merger, the new group is expected to maintain current staff members, continue raising funds in both counties, and continue focusing on the most pressing issues of each county, according to the release.

“The challenges facing our communities do not recognize city boundaries or county lines. The larger United Way will be able to partner with local and regional organizations and attract new funding from individual and corporate donors who are more interested in wider geographic programs that serve a greater number of people, influence social change and solve more problems,” Bill Rieth, CEO of United Way of Elkhart County, stated in the release.

An event is scheduled to be held at Blue Gate Restaurant in Shipshewana Friday to apparently finalize the merger. The new organization will be named United Way of Elkhart and LaGrange Counties, the release shows.

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