Due to the generosity of many individuals, companies, participating government offices and schools, United Way of the Midlands (UWM) is empowered to invest a total of $20.4 million in financial support in the coming fiscal year – with the goal to reduce poverty in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. This funding comes from three sources: the annual fundraising campaign, grants and the board-designated reserve. Beginning on July 1, 2016, funding will be distributed to a variety of programs, direct community services and collaborative human service initiatives that collectively aim to increase the stability and future success potential of our metro area’s most vulnerable residents. Across all programs and service categories, these resources:
2016-2018 COMMUNITY CARE FUND SUPPORT – $11.1 MILLION
United Way’s 2015-2016 fundraising effort was led by Dana and Danielle Bradford; Ken and Annie Bird will chair the campaign in 2016-2017. Thanks to thousands of community-minded local donors who contribute so generously, UWM is empowered to invest their financial support in a network of programs 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.
The largest portion of UWM’s annual human service investment is distributed through the Community Care Fund, a network of programs that undergoes rigorous evaluation by a team of 150 local volunteers and subject matter experts. Over the past six months, these Community Investment Review Team (CIRT) members have spent a collective 3,400 hours in agency program presentations and CIRT deliberations before submitting their evaluations on each program.
It is an increasingly competitive process to identify and select programs that demonstrate a measurable impact on the lives of those who participate in them. As such, tracking data on clients through their participation in the programs is critical.
After its own review of the CIRT teams’ recommendations, United Way’s Board of Directors has allocated $11.1 million per year to fund 127 programs at 57 metro area nonprofit agencies. Of that number, 12 organizations are new to the Community Care Fund. United Way is committed to providing the same level of funding next year through the support of its annual fundraising campaign. This will allow a longer runway to create impact and assure financial security for the selected programs.
Changes with New 2-Year Funding Cycle
UWM staff and investment volunteers will continue to receive and evaluate the important data that Community Care Fund programs submit over the next two years – an assessment that’s a critical part of the funding process.
In the coming year, CIRT volunteers will further develop their exposure to poverty-focused human service programs through a series of site visits to the funded programs. The staff team will be able to invest its time and expertise collaborating with other civic, corporate and nonprofit organizations to reduce poverty, address basic needs, help children increase their classroom readiness and prepare young adults to succeed at work.
UNITED WAY INITIATIVES AND COMMUNITY SERVICES – $6 MILLION:
A special part of our community’s strength lies in the shared work of many organizations that collaborate on solutions for human service challenges. United Way of the Midlands is proud to work side-by-side with other organizations on a variety of joint efforts. Current projects include:
2-1-1 Call Center
The heart of United Way’s work is to reduce poverty, and its first step is to make sure at-risk members of our community can connect with existing programs that help them address their basic needs. The “2-1-1” call center, available 24/7, connected callers with urgent assistance nearly 57,000 times in the 2015 calendar year. The center serves the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area (including nine counties in southwest Iowa), and communities across the state of Nebraska.
Volunteer Recruitment & Community Engagement
Year-Round Community Volunteer Programming: Across its many partnerships with civic, corporate and nonprofit organizations, United Way efficiently connects individuals and groups with meaningful opportunities to help others and strengthen our community. These volunteer engagement efforts include:
Court Referral Community Service Program: UWM works with Douglas County Court to connect offenders with
useful public service projects that satisfy their responsibility to the court and community, while helping nonprofit projects across the area. The Court Referral Community Service partnership between United Way and Douglas County is now in its 39th year.
DONOR-DIRECTED CONTRIBUTIONS – $3.3 MILLION:
Although most UWM givers choose to invest their donations in the comprehensive Community Care Fund, some specify an individual charity to receive their gift – one that focuses its local work in the UWM priority areas of Basic Needs, Classroom Ready or Workforce Ready.