United Way Support Helped Nicole Build a Foundation to Invest in Muncie


For 17 years, Nicole Rudnicki has called Muncie home—but PathStone’s program, funded by United Way of Delaware County, transformed her definition of the word.

Five years ago, Nicole determined she was ready to buy her first home. For as long as she could remember, Nicole had rented—but she’d had negative experiences with this in the past. While living in an apartment, the bank foreclosed on her landlord and, without warning, she had to find a new home. Nicole was ready for the security of her own place.

However, Nicole faced income requirement challenges while getting started with the home-buying process. This was when she reached out to PathStone for assistance. Through PathStone, Nicole took first-time home buyer classes and worked with agents to learn about saving, financial matters, and how to prepare for emergencies as a homeowner.

“That was a really exciting time for me,” said Nicole. “I’m very grateful to have been able to work with organizations such as PathStone and United Way. United Way knows how to implement what needs to be done. They really lend a feeling that you’re important to them.”

PathStone’s team and services made all the difference for Nicole during this time. In particular, she recalls how patient one employee, Chris Allen, was with her.

“The house I was trying to buy was not my first attempt, and he was very patient through the tedious process of income verification,” said Nicole. “He was always very willing to keep me updated and take all my calls asking if he’d heard anything yet.”

Nicole has always worked for United Way-affiliated organizations—from the mental health funded partner she worked for while attending Ball State University to her current position at Hillcroft.

“Every little drop counts. It means that you’re going to fund my niece to get her Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library books. You’re funding a program that helps me buy a house. You’re funding other people and organizations that rely on United Way funding.”

Since moving into her home in Old West End, Nicole has become the vice president of the Neighborhood Association, a position she’s held for four years now. She also sits on Muncie Action Plan’s neighborhood leadership council and was recently recognized by The Star Press as a 20 Under 40 honoree.

“I really enjoy being part of a dedicated group of people who are really interested in making the community better—making neighborhoods better,” said Nicole. “It’s a personal philosophy of mine that building small communities like neighborhoods, school associations, and people with common interests can help build big communities and help the entire city of Muncie flourish.”

Today, Nicole uses the security of owning her home to help others facing housing challenges, and she has reached out to friends when they needed somewhere to stay. Because she was taken care of, she is now in a position to take care of others. United Way donors gave Nicole the boost she needed to connect with her neighbors in Delaware County, dedicate her skills to improve her neighborhood, and give back to the community that helped her up.