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United Way opens its funding to new program applicants

Sue Guinn Legg • Jul 28, 2018 at 1:13 AM

For the first time in more than a decade, the United Way of Washington County will expand the number of local health and human service organizations that receive its annual support.

United Way President and CEO Kristan Ginnings said the expansion comes with the adoption of a new impact-focused allocations model that is increasingly being used by local United Way organizations across the country.

Rather than providing support for the broad spectrum of services provided by the United Way’s partner agency, Gennings said the new model will support specific programs within the agency in order to provide a more exact number of people who are impacted by dollars donated to the United Way and to better direct the type of impact those dollars make.

While the United Way will continue to support all of the 17 local agencies that currently receive its annual funding, it is opening its support up to other programs in order to meet new areas of need and broaden its impact in the community.

Ginnings said the United Way hopes to include up to 20 programs in its annual allocations.

For many of the United Way’s existing agencies, she said the new funding model will mean little change. For others, the United Way will work to identify specific services and programs where its dollars can be directed.

Looking at Frontier Health as an example, the United Way has for many years  provided annual support for the regional mental health care provider’s Adventure Program for troubled teens and for its Greenwood Challenge outdoor ropes course, which is in keeping with the new funding model.

At Coalition for Kids, the coalition could apply for funding for any — or all three — of its after-school, evening and summer programs for children with special needs identified by their schools.

“Our goal is not to harm or to take anything away from the agencies,” Ginnings said. “We are opening up to new programs, particularly health and financial stability programs where we feel we could do more. Our hope is we will be meeting a lot more needs than we are currently.”

In the four months she has served as the United Way president and CEO, Ginnings said she has been contacted by more than a dozen agencies that do not receive United Way support that have asked if there is any way to get United Way funding.

“This is a big deal for them,” she said. “For 13 years we have supported the same agencies without opening it up to others.”

The United Way announced the new new funding model in a press release issued this week. It requests applications be submitted by Sept. 28.

The press release states, “Selected applicants will respond to needs not currently being met by United Way of Washington County and its partner agencies, or offer solutions which are complementary to ongoing programs with regard to health education and financial stability.”

The United Way board will review the applications in October and begin its annual allocations process in December.

Ginnings said in the release, “We are looking forward to increasing our positive impact in our community.

“United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Washington County and there are some amazing programs that we know can make immediate and lasting improvements with our assistance.”

In addition to the new funding model, the local United Way is also implementing new United Way-branded direct impact programs, beginning next month with a virtual reading program to be piloted in 10 second-grade classrooms in Washington County and Johnson City schools.

Ginnings said the program will allow volunteers to work with second-graders who are below reading level with the goal of bringing them up to level before third grade and improve their academic performance through the remainder of their school years.

“We are excited to see how we can be of even greater benefit in our area than ever before,” she said.

For more information about the new programs or to request funding application instructions, contact the United Way office at 423-282-5682.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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