What Happens After the Campaign? Jackson County United Way’s Community Investment Process
Jackson County United Way (JCUW) recently announced its community impact and agency allocation funding for October 2019-December 2020, which total $606,139 for nonprofit programs and services in the county. These dollars are being invested toward community goals based on community conversations, data, and measurable outcomes along with an additional $14,000 in donor-designated funding. United Way’s community goals are focused on improving Education, Health, and Financial Stability outcomes for residents.
JCUW assesses needs, secures resources, and invests those resources to create lasting, measurable change in the areas of education, health, and financial stability for all people in Jackson County. This is the largest source of non-governmental funding for local non-profit agencies addressing the impact areas of education, health, and financial stability.
As previously reported by The Tribune in May 2016, JCUW announced changes to its community partners to better support their work in addressing problems facing Jackson County residents. The shift to program-based funding comes from the need to answer the donor question, ‘How is my investment making change?’ Volunteers and donors, both businesses and individuals, increasingly want to know what work is happening because of their time and dollars invested, and how the community has changed as a result. This work helps both JCUW and partners tell a more compelling story by aligning our work collectively to tell the bigger county-wide story.
JCUW’s Board and staff have held many meetings with community partners over the last three years to ensure the changes were well planned and partners were well prepared. In year three of the transition, we are now investing more into programs that are making a difference in the areas of education, health, and financial stability based on outcomes and metrics rather than the historic process for distributing funding to local agencies without consideration of outcomes.
Tonja Couch, JCUW Executive Director shared, “Our board is focused on ensuring that we achieve collective impact with partners who work in coordination to drive community change. JCUW cannot change community conditions unless we are more intentional about how we invest our resources, both time and money.”
“JCUW Board Members and community volunteers spend hundreds of hours every year to ensure each contribution is directed to programs that align with at least one of JCUW’s impact priorities, that programs are demonstrated to be effective, and that we are striving to act as a coordinated system that can bring about results instead of agencies operating on problems in isolation” said Susan Zabor, Chair of JCUW’s Impact Committee. The Community Investment Team, a subcommittee of the Impact Committee, spent an estimated 300 hours in the winter of 2018-2019 visiting local nonprofits and determining programs that service the most important and pressing needs in Jackson County.
The Community Investment Committee is made up of 30 volunteers, including 23 community volunteers and 7 JCUW Board members. The teams are split into the pillars of United Way’s work in Education, Health, and Financial Stability, as well as a Financial Review Team. Funding decisions are based on an analysis of organizational capacity, community need, client identification, program excellence, program outcomes, collective impact, and financial plan and program budget. Emphasis is placed on programs that meet JCUW’s community goals, community needs, and long-term organizational impact. These areas are evaluated and reviewed through program applications and by conducting interviews before deciding how to distribute funds. Funding recommendations pass through three volunteer review levels: Community Investment Committee, Impact Committee, and the JCUW Board of Directors.
The Community Investment Teams meet regularly during the review process. Programs also have to submit outcome reports to show if they are reaching their goals and reaching as many people in the community as possible, Zabor said. “The team leads and volunteers really take ownership of those programs that they evaluate,” she said.
One Community Investment team member shared, “Volunteering on the Community Investment Team with United Way was a great way to become aware of issues, connect with community partners, and engage in the work of making a difference in our county. It is amazing how much is being done in our county that is not visible in everyday life for many people. Involvement is a great way to build pride in the community and create opportunities to serve in these programs.”
Couch shared, “We are grateful to those who contributed to United Way last year, as well as those who gave of their time to volunteer to review and participate in creation of these funding recommendations. We are extremely pleased to provide support to critical local programs that are working together to create measurable, lasting changing in our community.”
JCUW funds a network of 27 programs provided by 20 local non-profit agencies. This $606,139 investment will directly impact an estimated 30,000 lives or 3 out of every 4 Jackson County residents with various services including emergency and crisis assistance, food security, ensuring access to mental and physical health needs, programs for our aging population, helping children and youth succeed, and more.
“Thanks to the generosity of our community and the hard work of our volunteers we are able to provide funding for these programs and partners” said Adam Jackson; United Way Board Chair. “Our mission is to bring people and resources together to create positive change and lasting impact in our community. These investments and the programs funded fulfill that mission,” Jackson stated.
“Using limited resources to address a wide range of human needs takes creativity, dedication and hard work,” added Couch. “The donors, board members, volunteers and human service providers create a unique partnership that allows the needs of our neighbors right here in Jackson County to be met.”
Funds raised from the 2018-19 campaign have been awarded to the following programs for the funding period October 2019-December 2020 in five general categories:
- Academic Success- Indiana Kids: Boys & Girls Club
- Afterschool & Summer Camp: Girls Inc.
- Community-Based Mentoring & Lunch Buddies: Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Girl Scouts: Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana
- Head Start: Human Services, Inc.
- Language Learners: Read Jackson County
- Accessible & Inclusive Playgrounds: The Arc of Jackson County
- Crisis Intervention Team: Mental Health America
- GAL/CASA: Child Care Network
- Friendly PEERsuasion & Will Power/Won’t Power & Wise Guys: Girls Inc.
- Food Pantry: Anchor House
- Healthy Lifestyles- Fit 365: Boys & Girls Club
- Primary Prevention Program: Turning Point
- Reducing Childhood Obesity & Establishing Healthy Habits: Hoosier Trails Council Boy Scouts
Financial Stability: $99,250
- Coaching for Success: Human Services, Inc.
- Direct Services: Turning Point
- Emergency Services: American Red Cross
- Residential Services: Anchor House
Seniors & Safety Net Services: $21,375
- Brownstown Seniors
- Crothersville Seniors
- Freetown Seniors
- Meals on Wheels
- Medora Seniors
- Salvation Army
- Seymour 107 Club
Agency Allocations: $242,164
- American Red Cross
- Anchor House
- The Arc of Jackson County
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Boys & Girls Club
- Child Care Network
- Girls Inc.
- Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana
- Hoosier Trails Council Boy Scouts
- Human Services, Inc.
- Mental Health America
- Read Jackson County
- Turning Point