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What is FOCUS?









FOCUS, formerly known as Focus On Our Future, was developed in 1994 in a collaborative effort between the United Way, York County Community Foundation, Penn State York, and Child Care Consultants, Inc.  Initially funded by grants from the Howard D. Heinz Endowments and Pew Charitable Trusts, FOCUS has grown into a program supported by businesses, foundations, community leaders, individuals, educational institutions, and state government.  FOCUS wants all children to enter school ready to learn.  Through inclusion, collaboration, research, and integrity, FOCUS works to improve the lives of children in York County by supporting quality early childhood experiences.

View the 2018 Education Initiatives Annual Report


Click Here for a great infographic on the importance of reading aloud.


United Way Receives Federal Grant Money and Starts the McKinley Innovation Zone project 

Family engagement is extremely fundamental in the early learning stages of young children and can have a huge impact on the overall success of a child. United Way of York County received a grant of federally funded Race to the Top Dollars  that will help build a stronger focus on family engagement and provide access to fundamental services needed to encourage academic improvement. The comprehensive community plan involves programming specific to:
  • Increasing family engagement
  • Increasing reading proficiency
  • Additional professional development for teachers in literacy 
Partners of the initiative include Martin Library, University of Pittsburgh, Communities in Schools, and the Community Progress Council.  Each partner is providing essential programming to support the McKinley initiatives. This video is a small part of the family engagement piece to welcome students and their families to the culture of McKinley Elementary. United Way of York County focuses on education as one of the building blocks to a strong community.  Donations made to the Community Fund help support these types of programs.  

For more information about FOCUS, please contact Julie Myers, FOCUS Program Associate, 717.771.3822.


From a Child's Perspective...

The video, "We are Pennsylvania's Future", shares from the children's perspective how investments in quality early education build a brighter future for Pennsylvania's families, businesses and communities. To learn more about how you can help, visit

Watch: We are Pennsylvania's Future - Pennsylvania's Promise for Children