United Way of Central Kentucky (UWCK) announced investments of $837,491 that will provide opportunities for more people in Hardin, Breckinridge, Grayson, LaRue, and Meade Counties to move out of poverty.
Agencies and programs serving Grayson County were awarded $445,498.48 of these funds.
25 agencies with 42 programs requested a record $1,260,482 in funding through the 2016 Community Investment process. With approval from UWCK’s Board of Directors, the all-volunteer Community Investment Team (CIT), awarded grants to 25 agencies and the 35 programs which showed the greatest potential to achieve measurable and lasting change in the areas of Education, Financial Stability, Health, and Basic Needs. 18 of the funded programs serve Grayson County residents vulnerable to cycles of poverty.
“In the past, United Way’s mission was to raise as much money as possible and give it out to many good causes without changing the underlying issues creating these needs,” said UWCK President & CEO Megan Stith. “We now go beyond giving, instead making strategic investments that strengthen the infrastructure of our community and empower families with clearer paths back to stability. By taking a balanced approach with programs that meet immediate needs and prevent problems from happening in the first place, we can turn poverty into possibility.”
UWCK considered requests from the entire community and evaluated their alignment with United Way’s investment priorities when allocating funds raised through the 2015 annual campaign. The Community Investment process looks for quality programming and results, integration of services, collaboration with other organizations, and leverage of grants through matching funds or volunteer services. Grayson County was represented on this committee by Vanda White with Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center and Alfreda Weedman with Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.
Preventative programs focused on Early Childhood Education, Supportive Mentoring Relationships, and Financial Stability made up 35 percent of all grants awarded. Programs that improve health and help meet individuals’ basic needs received 17 percent and 40 percent of funds respectively. Last year these programs provided over 100,000 services in the UWCK region of Hardin, Breckinridge, Grayson, LaRue, and Meade Counties.
Last year more than 37,798 services were provided to Grayson County residents by the programs awarded funding for 2016-2017:
· Grayson County Schools: $13,400 to support Lawler and Clarkson Elementary’ s United Way Born Learning Academies which engage parents in improving school readiness and meet at-risk Caneyville students’ basic needs so they can be successful in the classroom
· Big Brothers Big Sisters: $50,000 to provide supportive mentoring relationships to at-risk children
· Breckinridge-Grayson Programs: $5,060 to help preschoolers prepare to enter kindergarten ready to learn
· Boy Scouts/Learning For Life Champions Program: $5,000 to support students with special needs through in-school curriculum and outdoor experiences
· Central Kentucky Community Action: $5,000 to help struggling families achieve financial stability through Community Collaboration for Children and $8,000 to allow seniors to live independently through the Senior Companion program
· Feeding America: $77,000, which includes funding for local students who rely on the Backpack program to keep them from going hungry over the weekend
· Grayson County Alliance: $55,000 to prevent hunger through the food pantry
· Grayson County Ministerial Association: $10,000 to improve the self-sufficiency of those struggling to meet their basic needs
· Legal Aid: $3,000 to provide legal services to help families prevent foreclosure and eviction, be protected from domestic violence, and put clients back on the path to financial stability
· American Red Cross: $10,000 to support fire and disaster recovery efforts
· Community Health Clinic: $91,031.48 to provide healthcare for the uninsured and those who fall through the cracks in the changing insurance system
· Silverleaf Sexual Trauma Recovery: $35,000 to provide counseling to children who have suffered sexual abuse to prevent future mental health and substance abuse which can stem from untreated trauma
· SpringHaven Domestic Violence Program: $60,000 to provide safety for survivors of domestic violence as well as the advocacy, education, and resources needed for them to regain their independence and self-sufficiency
· Tri-County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA): $25,000 to provide abused and neglected children in the court system with trained volunteer mentors who advocate for their best interests and help them find safe, permanent, and loving homes
A full listing of the 25 agencies and 34 programs receiving grants can be found at unitedwayck.org/funded-partners.
“United Way assesses community needs, develops strategies to confront those challenges, and invests resources in solutions that will improve lives,” said Ray Springsteen, Chair of the 2016 Community Investment Team and CEO of Fort Knox Federal Credit Union. “The CIT process is a perfect example of United Way’s commitment to providing the maximum value for each dollar entrusted to us, with our CIT volunteers spending over 640 hours reviewing applications and vetting every request.”
The process from initial concept to funding award includes the following steps:
· Four hours – grant application training for nonprofits
· 35 hours – average time spent developing each grant application by nonprofits
· Three hours – training for Community Investment Team volunteer grant reviewers
· 30 hours – review of all applications by each CIT member
· Eight hours – applicant Question & Answer session with CIT volunteers
· 12 hours – CIT deliberations discussions
· One hour – funding recommendations reviewed by UWCK Board of Directors
“These programs, in addition to those managed directly by UWCK, provide a coordinated network of ways to move individuals in crisis to more stable lives,” said CIT member and 2016 Board Chair Scott Conway with First Citizens Bank. “We look forward to reporting back to the community on the results of our collective work.”