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 Care Fund in health and human service programs across the community. These dollars help nonprofit organizations provide services to those who are most vulnerable. In 2016, $11.1 million was invested in 127 programs throughout the community that aim to reduce poverty – carefully-vetted local services that support our neighbors’ vital basic needs, and increase their success in the classroom and the workforce.

Funds raised through the Community Fund are distributed by the Community Investment Review Teams (CIRT). 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 programs 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 Care Fund.

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

  • Does the program serve individuals or families with limited or no access to food, housing, safety or health because of unmet needs or crisis situations, or those with barriers to academic success, employability or self-sufficiency?
  • Areas of Emphasis:
    • Enhance efficiencies in service delivery
    • Demonstrate effective collaborations with other organizations
    • Demonstrate measurable impact
    • Incorporate effective prevention strategies
    • Remove barriers to service access
    • Address the integration across UWM priority areas (Food, Safety, Housing, Health, Classroom Ready, Workforce Ready)
  • The fiscal health and stewardship of the organizations applying for funding
  • Delivery of services and program design via a Work Plan