Beginning this summer, United Way of Snohomish County will award $2.65 million to help area non-profits keep families in their homes, ensure students succeed in school and build healthier communities. This round of funding will further United Way’s strategy of better targeting its dollars to increase impact and accountability among the nonprofit programs it supports.
In the past three years, programs funded by United Way provided quality early learning programs for thousands of toddlers, housed families, and fed thousands of people. Officials for United Way said the $2.65 million will fund 102 programs they expect will build on that work.
United Way’s mission to improve lives includes multiple strategies, such as advocacy work and mobilizing volunteers. Such strategies leverage dollars beyond what can be achieved solely by funding grants, said Carl Zapora, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County; however, grants to nonprofit programs remain a key strategy of United Way, which invests in a broad spectrum of social services and comprises United Way’s largest area of investment in community services.
Grants are being awarded to programs reflecting a wide range of services for kids, families and the entire community. Awards run July 1, 2010-June 30, 2013 and represent nearly $8 million over the life of the three-year grant. A complete list of programs and the dollar allocations to each will be posted June 1 on United Way’s web site at uwsc.org.
“The Vision Council volunteers did a fantastic job of focusing on priorities for our community,” Pastega said. “With $6 million in grant requests and $2.6 million available for grants, their job was not easy. Forty-two volunteers gave more than 2,500 hours to read proposals, ask questions of the grant applicants, and deliberate.”
Grants for children and youth programs total $947,017 annually for programs. Quality early learning is a priority, with $331,456 going toward childcare, training for child-care providers, and parenting support. Youth programs will receive $331,456 to promote healthy physical, social and academic development. Intervention programs for at-risk youth have been awarded $284,105 for teen shelters, and programs to help youth avoid drugs, crime and teen pregnancy. Two new programs aimed at gang prevention were among those funded.
Most funded programs serve the entire county. Programs serving the Lake Stevens area include Cocoon House’s Youth Violence and Gang Intervention and Prevention, Compass Health’s Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center, Lutheran Community Services Northwest’s Immigrant Children’s Services and Sherwood Community Services’ ExCEL.
Basic needs and self-sufficiency programs for families will receive $947,018 annually, with the highest funding for housing and shelter programs ($284,104). Other priority areas include emergency aid for utilities, rent and mortgage assistance ($189,404); life and job skills ($94,702). Counseling, healthcare and mental health services ($189,404); and food and nutrition ($189,404) were other priorities.
Most funded programs serve the entire county. Programs serving the Lake Stevens area include American Red Cross Snohomish County Chapter’s Disaster Relief Services, Sherwood Community Services’ Career Connection-Employment and Volunteers of America Western Washington’s Snohomish County Food Bank Distribution Center.
The third impact area focuses on family and senior resource centers, access to services for fragile and under-served populations, with a focus on programs serving people with disabilities and multi-cultural populations. Grants in this third impact area total $641,000 annually.
Most funded programs serve the entire county. Programs serving the Lake Stevens area include American Red Cross Snohomish County Chapter’s Community Disaster Education, Lutheran Community Services Northwest’s Family Support Enhancing Services to Multicultural and Underserved Populations and Family Support Serving Isolated Populations and Sherwood Community Services’ Career Connection-Inclusion and TechSTEP.
In all, 139 grant proposals were reviewed by the three councils: Kids Matter, Families Matter and Community Matters and 98 programs received funding. Additionally, $100,000 goes to North Sound 2-1-1 for the community information and referral helpline and $15,060 will fund three community chest grants.
“Deciding where to fund was very challenging,” said Emily Maher, chair of the Kids Matter Vision Council. “We struggled, and funded where the greatest impact was going to be made.”
“It’s not that some programs didn’t deserve funding,” added Toraya Miller, chair of the Families Matter Vision Council. “It’s that United Way had limited funds to give. We chose those programs most aligned and with the most to offer.”
“Grants provide a safety net of services that help meet people’s needs day to day,” Pastega said. “United Way’s other strategies focus on the underlying causes of problems, filling gaps in services, or strengthening nonprofit agencies themselves. All United Way grants and other strategies are funded through United Way’s Local Community Fund, so I want to personally thank donors who give all or part of their gift this way. I encourage the whole community to find out more about how United Way is making a difference in our communities.”
Programs funded and the dollar allocations are posted on United Way’s web site at uwsc.org.