How Do We Decide?

Who Decides Where the Donors' Dollars Go?

Over 70,000 generous community donors entrust United Way of the Midlands to invest funds donated to the Community Fund in health and human service programs across the community. These dollars help nonprofit organizations provide services to those who are most vulnerable. In 2014, $12,169,276 was invested in 122 programs throughout the community to support services ranging from basic needs and mental health to early childhood.

Funds raised through the Community Fund are distributed by the Community Investment Review Teams. CIRTs are made up of volunteers who:

  • Think strategically about issues and problem-solve
  • Are content experts in health and human services
  • Are interested in data and the support of data-based decision making
  • Have a desire to learn more about the issues and greatest needs facing our community
  • Are invested in UWM’s guiding principles of transparency, accountability, partnership and engagement

Volunteers review the applications from agencies requesting funding, attend program presentations and come together to make a funding recommendation to the Community Impact Cabinet.

Finally, the United Way of the Midlands Board of Directors must approve the funding recommendations. It's a thorough process that includes a lot of community input.


How's the decision made?

Here's something that may come as a surprise: United Way doesn't fund agencies, we fund programs. That "we" includes thousands of individual donors and volunteers, hundreds of companies, labor unions and other organizations who give to the Community Fund.

It involves a comprehensive examination of existing programs and possible new ones. Here are the things the Community Investment Review Team volunteers consider with each program:

  • Financial health and vitality of the agency: short and long-term cash flow, overhead and months of operating reserve
  • Collaborations that enhance the effectiveness of the delivery of the proposed program
  • Organizations providing similar services in the community
  • Work Plan
  • Community need for the program
  • Target population and what makes them vulnerable
  • Program goals and objectives
  • Best practices, standards of practice and guidelines
  • Program Activities
  • Outcomes and Indicators
  • Quality Improvement processes
  • Program Budget & Budget Narrative