United Way determines 2013 funding target

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, June 29, 2013

Column: Live United, by Ann Austin

At the United Way of Freeborn County’s board meeting this month, board members voted to approve the 2013 campaign need. We had an increase to many area programs and will look to the community to help raise $696,000.

Ann Austin

Ann Austin

This is quite a large sum and will help provide many important community services throughout 2014. Some of the services include early childhood visits and scholarships to attend preschool, resources for parents and families so children receive the care they need, transportation and job coaching for people who have developmental disabilities, resources for people who are struggling financially, physically and/or emotionally and many other beneficial programs for people from all walks of life.

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A new program United Way will support in 2014 is the Crisis Response Team. This dedicated group of volunteers used to have their program housed through the county, but switched to nonprofit status last year. They offer emotional support for victims of disasters or other traumatic situations. To learn more about what they do, you can visit our website: www.unitedwayfc.org/resources and click on “Crisis Response Team.”

The process to approve program requests is quite lengthy. For 2014 funding, our volunteers began to review new programs in the fall of 2012. The applicant agencies are required to meet certain criterion in order to be considered for United Way funding including: operating as a 501(c)3, providing programs within Freeborn County, having a board of directors and good financial practices.

When programs met that criterion, the sponsor agencies are invited to fill out a formal application. The application asks for a detailed program description including the population served, the number of individuals receiving services, future goals and other community accomplishments. The application also includes a form to track program goals and outcomes.

After completed applications were received at the end of March 2013, United Way volunteers and board members performed site visits and reviewed the programs. Goals and outcomes were discussed. This is a very important part of the process since United Way funding comes from our community, and our volunteers work hard to ensure that funds are spent locally on the most impactful programs.

Not every applicant receives the funds they request; this decision is based on many factors. Allocations are based on current needs in the community and applicants are aware that funding changes as community needs change.

A final meeting was held in April to review program finances. Funding recommendations were brought to the board for final approval at the June board meeting.

After all of this, the need for 2014 is $696,000. Actual amounts paid out to programs in 2014 will be determined at the end of the 2013 fundraising campaign. If there is a shortfall in the amount that is raised by the community, agencies may need to adjust their future programs accordingly.

We try our best to help educate the community about programs that are available. Our community is lucky to be able to support such a variety of services for our residents. Specific program accomplishments for the previous year may be reviewed under the “Give” tab on our website.

United Way’s goal is to create long-lasting changes by addressing the underlying causes of the problems we face as a community. It takes everyone in the community working together to create a brighter future. We look forward to continuing to work with all of you.

Live united!


Ann Austin is the executive director of the United Way of Freeborn County.