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Apr 1, 2016

Helping Local Families Achieve Financial Stability

Sponsored Content provided by Chris Nelson - President, United Way of the Cape Fear Area

United Way of the Cape Fear Area (UWCFA) has begun its three-month long Community Impact investment process for local nonprofit programs that provide programs that help local people become financially stable. This impact area assists local individuals and families who are transitioning from financial crisis to financial stability so that they may begin to lead self-sufficient, healthy lives. UWCFA’s Community Impact investment process will set targets and review grant applications for the health and education impact areas over the next two years. UWCFA investments are granted for a three-year period, which means that each impact area is addressed every three years.
While UWCFA community impact programs are diverse in terms of the needs they address, they have a number of other factors in common. First, they use proven, research-based service techniques that produce documented outcomes that change lives in Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties. Second, their services target issues in the impact areas of education, financial stability and health, which have been determined to be the most critical by volunteers who live and work within the Cape Fear region. Third, each program has been carefully vetted by volunteers through a competitive investment process totally unique to UWCFA. More than 300 volunteer hours are spent annually during the Community Impact investment process to assess needs, research applicant programs and make funding decisions based on a sophisticated grant evaluation system.
Currently, UWCFA volunteers have received 30 separate grant requests totaling more than $1.2 million. Programs competing for Community Impact funds include:

  • Homelessness intervention and transition to independence
  • Feeding programs for low-income school children
  • Career skills training for young adults
  • Emergency food, shelter and one-time financial assistance
Unfortunately, less than a third of the applicant programs will receive Community Impact grants. Our community simply isn’t raising enough money each year to fulfill all the grant-worthy requests that compete for these funds throughout the process. Community Impact funds that are available will help UWCFA leverage funds from outside the area to apply to local needs. Historically, every donated dollar creates $2 worth of impact, and every $15 will change one local life … this represents collective community impact.
Collective community impact has been what United Way of the Cape Fear Area is all about. Donations from our community are combined with those of thousands of other community champions. It has worked for 75 years, and it will continue to work because there is no other organization that can match the documented results produced during that time. And there is no better method with which to make an investment in your community – a method and process that will impact more than 130,000 lives per year.
For more information or to get involved in the process, please visit our newly updated website at or call me at (910) 798-3900. And thank you for your continued support through your generous donations to United Way of the Cape Fear Area.
Christopher L. Nelson is president of the United Way of the Cape Fear Area, a local nonprofit organization. Since 1941, the United Way of the Cape Fear Area has worked alongside local agencies in Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties to assist them in providing substantial and sustainable change within the Cape Fear area. To learn more about the United Way of the Cape Fear Region, go to or call (910) 798-3900.

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