United Way Announces Annual Funding as it Transitions to Make a Greater Impact in the Community
United Way of the Capital Region has announced its annual funding of local programs and its new community initiatives. Last year, United Way began transitioning its work to move the needle on critical issues facing the region in the areas of health, education, income and basic needs by focusing on the root causes of these problems. This organizational shift to a collective impact model of work began in 2014 with an assessment of community needs, public meetings and listening to donors’ requests for United Way to make a greater impact in the community.
“When we began to redefine our work three years ago, we knew the transition would not be easy, but it would be necessary to create a stronger future for our region,” says Timothy B. Fatzinger, United Way of the Capital Region president and CEO. “This year’s funding reflects the growing trend of donors choosing to designate their gift instead of making an unrestricted contribution to United Way. It also reflects financial support of our new model of work to move our community forward.”
In the area of basic needs, United Way of the Capital Region remains committed to supporting services that provide critical help in urgent situations like food, shelter and clothing. Even though the organization remains committed to this area, United Way has less unrestricted dollars available. This year, basic needs programs will receive $1,187,523, which represents a 26 percent decrease from last year.
Programs not in the basic needs area will receive $1,557,976. This reflects less available unrestricted dollars as well as a strategic four-year “step-down” in funding. This year programs in these areas will receive 75 percent of available dollars. Funding will continue to decrease incrementally to zero dollars by 2020. This step-down process was designed to provide time for agencies to plan for this funding change and provide resources to launch new community initiatives.
At the same time, United Way is working collectively with community partners to launch three new pilot projects later this year that are focused on access to health care, workforce development and school readiness. These focus areas were identified as most pressing issues in “Life in the Capital Region: 2014 Assessment of our Community” as well as community meetings held over the past two years. Collectively, the pilot projects will receive nearly $1 million made up of unrestricted and designated dollars. While all projects will be limited in scope of area initially, they are scalable to ensure they can grow to serve people in rural, suburban and urban parts of our community.
While some aspects of United Way’s work are changing, many resources will remain the same. The organization is – and will remain – a community fundraiser for all organizations. This past year, United Way helped raise and distribute an additional $5.8 million in designations to organizations both in and outside our region. Thanks to United Way’s Cornerstone Partner program, all gifts to any qualified charitable organization can be made with no administrative fees. Cornerstone Partners include 13 of our region’s most charitable companies who underwrite United Way of the Capital Region’s low administrative and fundraising rate of 13 percent.
In addition, United Way will continue to offer both small- and large-scale volunteer opportunities through its Volunteer Center; a free tax preparation program for low- to moderate-income families; the Capital Region Dashboard, an online resource of data on community issues; volunteer and networking opportunities through its affinity groups; and collaboration with local labor groups dedicated to helping working families.
“For decades our United Way has been improving the lives of individuals, but it’s now time to make a deeper impact by changing our community,” said Greg Gunn, managing partner of Gunn-Mowery, LLC and United Way of the Capital Region board chairman. “This transition is necessary to take on critical issues, and create a brighter future for individuals and families in the Capital Region.”