Recently, United Way of Central Carolinas announced its annual funding for partner agencies across a five-county region, including $87,400 to 10 agencies in Anson County. As a member of United Way’s Anson County board and chair of its Community Investment committee, I wanted to share a behind-the-scenes look at that process.
Overall, there are three key points that I’d like to convey:
1) Funding decisions were made not by United Way staff, but by eight local Anson County volunteers — fellow donors representing your voice in our community.
2) Funding decisions were data-driven, following careful examination of each agency — fiscally sound agencies producing clear results.
3) In Anson, we distributed 100 percent of the campaign funds to local programs serving Anson County residents.
An Intense Volunteer Commitment
Across the full United Way region, 164 volunteers in Anson, Cabarrus, Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Mooresville/Lake Norman, and Union donated their time and expertise to serve on Community Investment Councils.
Each county has volunteer councils specifically focused on three priority areas — Children & Youth, Housing & Stability, and Health & Mental Health. In many cases, these volunteers are subject-matter experts with a background related to the issues in their focus area. Most importantly, all of our volunteers are passionate about serving Anson County and our local neighbors in need.
Their role is an intense, months-long commitment — they spend time training with United Way staff, visit their assigned agencies, pore through numerous funding applications, and listen to presentations by each agency. Then they work as a team to make the really hard recommendations about how limited dollars will be distributed among great agencies addressing huge challenges.
Data-Driven Decisions for Those Most At-Risk
Our volunteers, board and staff know how important it is that we invest your donations wisely — there is much more need in the community than there is money to go around. Across the five-county region, United Way received $1.2 million in funding requests that we could not meet. That’s why every United Way agency must clearly demonstrate concrete results in their funding application — results that help those most at-risk and in poverty.
Overall, United Way agencies in Anson County requested a 13.5-percent increase over last year’s funding level. Our volunteers had to make hard decisions to prioritize the requests, but that is what donors require of us. In the end, we were able to increase funding for 10 programs: Anson County Partnership for Children (Literacy & Tips), Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, HOLLA!, Anson Community Hospital (Diabetes Management & Camp Summer Breath), American Red Cross, Anson County Domestic Violence Coalition, Feed My Lambs, and Union County Crisis Assistance Ministry (which also serves Anson residents).
We are fully committed to ensuring that your dollars go to the most effective agencies, with the greatest results, meeting Anson County’s most pressing needs.
Your Gifts Make This Possible
United Way’s Anson County board, Community Investment Council volunteers, United Way staff and our strong partner agencies are grateful for the 55,000 generous donors who dig deeply year after year. Because of you, United Way is one of this region’s few funding sources that has not declined since 2009. Such stability is critical when needs are so high.
So now, when you make a gift to United Way, you know that we value your contribution — and that funding decisions are made strategically with strong results in mind.
Lawrence Gatewood is the county manager for Anson County. He serves on the Anson County board of United Way of Central Carolinas and is chair of the board’s Community Investment committee. Other members of the Community Investment committee included Jane Cauble (Premiere Fibers), Anne Flynn (Anson Bank & Trust Co), Lula Jackson (Anson County Dept of Social Services), Carly Little (H.W. Little & Company), Scott Rivers (South Piedmont Community College), Lisa Smothers (Woodmen of the World Insurance), Jarvis Woodburn (Columbus McKinnon/Anson County Board of Commissioners).