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Mar 10, 2016

United Way Of The Cape Fear Area Begins Grant Process

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

As many of you know, United Way of the Cape Fear Area (UWCFA) adopted an “Impact Agenda” eight years ago. UWCFA volunteers establish outcome targets in one area of impact focus each year. Those impact areas are education, financial stability and health. Those targets are shared with nonprofit health and human service organizations throughout the Cape Fear area (New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and Columbus counties) and subsequent request for proposals are available for nonprofits interested in applying for a UWCFA grant.
 
Proposals are reviewed and evaluated by a volunteer team that typically spends more than 300 hours over two and a half months in the spring to determine which programs should receive a UWCFA grant. Once those recommendations are approved by the UWCFA's volunteer board of directors, UWCFA uses the resources generated in its annual community campaign to invest in those programs for a three-year period. Quarterly reporting is provided to UWCFA to assure that each program that receives a UWCFA investment achieves an expected outcome.
 
This spring, UWCFA will be reviewing proposals addressing financial stability. The specific targets established for this investment cycle include: employability and jobs; transition to housing and housing stability; and basic needs. Based on letters of intent submitted by area nonprofits in December, UWCFA is expecting 30 proposals requesting in excess of $1.2 million. Our expectation is that virtually all of those proposals will be outstanding, hitting at least one of the established targets and providing exceptional outcomes that result in improving lives of citizens in our area. Based on where the UWCFA 2015 campaign is expected to finish in a few months, less than one-third of those programs will be granted an investment. This means that two-thirds of the programs that apply will be excluded – not because they don’t deserve funds, but because the money raised by the United Way community campaign is not enough to support them all.
 
Programs addressing financial stability issues in which UWCFA is currently making investments include:

  • employment training
  • homelessness intervention and transition to independence
  • food backpack programs for low-income children
  • entrepreneur training for young adults
  • emergency food, shelter and other assistance
The UWCFA investment process is unique. Local volunteers and experts determine the most critical needs in our community. Local nonprofit organizations present the best solutions to those needs, resulting in the most effective outcomes. Other local volunteers vet program proposals and use  thorough evaluation tools to select the best. Specific program outcomes are then identified and evaluated to ensure the best return for every donor’s contribution. Through this process, UWCFA can virtually double the impact of every dollar by helping create multiagency program collaboratives, matching local resources with other out-of-area resources, and providing thorough accountability.
 
While the system is in place to identify and address our community’s most critical needs, the funds simply aren’t. We wish we could help every program that applied. Unfortunately, we just don’t have enough donors and enough donations to do that.
 
There is still time to participate in the United Way community campaign. Give us a call. Host a campaign in your company. Donated as an individual or give a family gift to be dedicated to the Community Impact Fund. Be a part of impacting our local community in the Cape Fear Area. To learn more, visit uwcfa.org or call (910) 798-3900.
 
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 https://uwcfa.org/ or call (910) 798-3900.
 

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