The Community Investment process allows United Way volunteers to decide which local agency programs receive the dollars raised during the campaign, which is a key role in ensuring donors’ funding has the greatest impact in the community.
Community Investment volunteers are divided into teams that correspond with United Way’s four core priority areas: Health, Income, Education, and Basic Needs. After local nonprofit agencies apply for funding for their program(s), community investment volunteer teams review applications, visit agencies and evaluate programs, and decide how dollars from the campaign are invested into those programs.
“Our community investment process continues to be an amazing example of how a committed and diverse group of community volunteers can have a positive impact on people’s lives. We are truly blessed to have such dedicated volunteers who truly care about and strive to make our local United Way one of the very best in the world. I am honored to have been part of such a unique and rewarding experience.” – Bob Kidd, CEO of Hecht Burdeshaw Architects and Community Investment Board Chair
As a result of this extensive review and evaluation, United Way will award funding to 58 local programs through 29 agencies in the upcoming fiscal year. Four new programs will receive United Way funding: BRIDGE of Columbus, MercyMed Dentistry, Oxbow Meadows Life and Environmental Science Enrichment Program, and Southeastern Vet to Vet. Collectively, these programs will build a strong community, transform lives, and create opportunities for a good life for all.
“Donors to the United Way can be assured that their gift is invested in quality local programs that demonstrate they are filling a true community need, are good stewards of the dollars, and are changing people’s lives right here in the Chattahoochee Valley.” – Scott Ferguson, President & CEO of United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley
Volunteers Share Their Experiences
Volunteers describe the process as an eye opening, humbling learning experience. According to the Health 2 team, one of the nine volunteer teams, it is refreshing to see how dollars raised locally during the United Way campaign stay local when invested into local nonprofit agency programs.
Volunteers that participated in the Community Investment process in previous years find it interesting to see year after year to see how programs change and expand to other areas of the community because of United Way. Several volunteers plan to participate in the Community Investment process again next year.
On Tuesday, May 23rd, United Way had a reception to recognize the volunteers for their efforts.
At the reception, Sonja Esteras, team leader for Basic Needs 2 team, Monique Baucham, team member of Education 1, and David Mitchell, Community Investment Board member for Basic Needs 1 team, spoke about what the process was like for them.
“For me, the Community Investment process is personally very rewarding because I feel I’m a part of this great process in the community. I’ve been doing it for three years now, and every year I learn more about the different organizations and different agencies that United Way supports and by going to see them, and through the site visits, I have a better understanding what they do and how the money is spent. I encourage everyone anyone that they can to get involved with it, because it really is an eye-opening experience.” – Sonja Esteras, team leader of Basic Needs 2 team
“As a first-year Community Investment volunteer, this has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in several years. The importance to the community, the stewardship we must exercise on behalf of the community, all played major factors into a very enlightening experience. So I hope to continue to do this in future years.” – Monique Baucham, team member of Education 1 team
“Three words to describe this process: rewarding, interesting and fun. I like that we always have different people on committee with different skills in the community that understand the system whether it be an educator, a mom that cares about children’s literacy, an auditor-we as a diverse group all come together to help make a difference. I’ve been doing this for about 5-6 years now and the team we had was a fabulous group of people that pulled together to help the community and agencies prosper.” – David Mitchell, Community Investment Board Member for Basic Needs 1 Team