Updated: United Way allocates funding to more than 90 programsWritten by Kristen Criswell | | firstname.lastname@example.org
United Way of Greater Toledo announced $11.6 million in community investments June 3.
United Way allocated $7 million in funding to more than 90 programs in Lucas, Wood and Ottawa counties. Based on donor designations from the fall fundraising campaign, an additional $4.6 million will be distributed to specific programs. All funds will cover the fiscal year between July 1, 2010 and June 20, 2011.
With the 2009 campaign down 3 percent from the previous year and funding made up from government grants, United Way has approximately $1 million less to distribute to area programs this year, said Bill Kitson, United Way president and CEO.
“[Our volunteers] could have said lets scrape 10 percent off of everybody, but instead they made difficult decisions so those programs that are doing amazing things could continue at the same level they’ve been continuing,” Kitson said.
While approximately 65 programs received the same or more funding than last year, five agencies and eight programs that previously received funding were granted no funding this year.
“It is painful when people lose funding, but it means that the community in general, the tide will be raised and all the money that is going out and will be going to the community in a very laser like focused way,” said Cindy Dana co-chairwoman of the Community Impact Cabinet, a group of volunteers that made fundraising decisions.
This is the second year United Way has focused its investments on its strategic plan Agenda for Change. The plan addresses ways to attack community issues in education, income and health at the source.
Prior to knowing how much money would be available for allocation, the Community Impact Cabinet, of approximately 75 volunteers, decided to create a system of three tiers to help rank nonprofit programs. The tiers were designed to rank programs based on performance and how they align with the Agenda for Change, Dana said.
“For years and years and years we’ve invested in agencies because it was the right thing to do or was a feel good thing. Times are changing and have to be a little more responsible where we invest money,” Dana said.
Once the cabinet received a total funding amount the group divided into smaller groups and met to rank each program within the three tiers. Within Lucas County a total of 46 programs fell into Tier 1, 27 into Tier 2 and five into Tier 3. The tier system cut down on hours spent debating what a program should receive, because what is important and what should be funded has been decided, Kitson said.
After more than 25 meetings and site visits throughout the year, all Tier 3 programs’ funds were cut and some Tier 2 programming funds were reduced.
Some significant funding changes were both Family Services of Northwest Ohio and Catholic Charities had programs that were reduced to $0 in funding, but still receive funding from United Way for other programs.
Five agencies no longer receive funding from United Way; A Place for Parents, Kidney Foundation, Toledo Hearing and Speech, Grace Community Center and Monroe St. Neighborhood Center.
However, Grace Community Center and Monroe St. Neighborhood Center did not apply for funding from United Way this fiscal year. Grace Community Center and Monroe St. Neighborhood Center were given one-year transition funding last year.
Additionally, Lucas County Family Council did not seek or receive funding from United Way this year because it has alternative funding for its Teen Pregnancy Prevention Contract.
On May 19, recommendations were made to the United Way board and funding was approved for the year.