Goal: Empower individuals to increase their financial stability.
Goal: Improve community mental health.
Goal: Ensure children are school-ready.
Goal: Make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring.
Establishing Criteria for Funding
Over the last three years, our community gave United Way of the Lewis and Clark Area feedback about what our community’s strengths and weaknesses are. Our team used all the feedback received to create a Visioning Document that condenses all the information, and we’ve used it to create goals to guide our work and strengthen our community.
The visioning process identified resilience as a challenge for our community. With community input, we defined resilience as our neighbors being empowered to have the knowledge, skills and abilities to overcome obstacles to lead their best lives. Our team then consulted the Visioning Document to set goals to improve community mental health, ensure children are school-ready, empower individuals to increase their financial stability, and make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.
In addition to creating new focus for our work, we also recognized gaps exist between programs and services for our community. Impacting a greater number of lives and ensuring our community’s efforts are focused and effective meant we needed to increase partnerships and collaboration for the projects we funded. More collaboration means that our neighbors are more likely to get the help they need from our community and it saves money by ensuring programs aren’t duplicated.
When donations to United Way aren’t designated to a specific cause or organization, they are directed into the Community Impact Fund. Nonprofits that have formal partnerships with United Way apply for support from that fund to support their work.
With the shift in our goals and focus, applicants must demonstrate how their project is collaborative and supports our goals of improving community mental health, ensuring children are school-ready, empowering individuals to increase their financial stability, and making homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring. They are supplied a copy of the scoring matrix and focus areas established by the community to help build their funding applications.
Last year was a competitive funding process and the end decisions were very difficult because so many wonderful programs and services exist in our community. A team of community volunteers reviewed applications, discussed each project, and determined what the biggest priorities were based on the scoring matrix and goals our community created. After the decision was reached by these volunteers, our board of directors reviewed the funding recommendations and approved them.
With your partnership, we’ve been able to fund great, collaborative projects that will make a big impact in our community. Your generosity last year made it possible to…
- impact 6,780 lives by providing access to affordable, quality childcare,
- increase social opportunities for 487 disabled or homebound people in our area to improve mental health,
- provide 464 children with early childhood education programming for the year,
- ensure 2,500 commodities boxes were distributed every six months and feed 551 meals to local seniors daily,
- support summer reading programs as well as in-school reading programs to improve literacy for local students,
- refunded almost $1 million in tax returns to the community through Free Tax Help,
- and more!
Thanks to you, our community is becoming more resilient. We are able to support efforts that will build resilience in our neighbors and provide them with the skills, knowledge and ability to overcome challenges in their lives.
Click on the links above to learn more about each funded project from 2017!