Competitive grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations serving the United Way of Central Minnesota service area for funding in 2013-2015. Funding will be awarded within the five aspirations community volunteers, service providers, subject experts and business leaders have established. A complete listing of the aspirations, outcomes and expectations can be found at www.unitedwayhelps.org.
An application will be due Nov. 16. For more information, visit www.thenewsleaders.com and click on Town Crier.
Competitive grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations serving the United Way of Central Minnesota service area for funding in 2013-2015. Funding will be awarded within the five aspirations community volunteers, service providers, subject experts and business leaders have established, which are as follows:
• Every school-age youth is engaged in ongoing experiences that build positive life skills and support from caring mentors.
• Ensure all people have food to nourish themselves so no one in our communities goes hungry.
• Every young child, birth through third grade, reaches their early learning and literacy potential.
• Increase financial stability and independence among lower-income or struggling households.
• Reduce the impact of homelessness with a special focus on youth and families with children.
There are links between each of these areas, and each area impacts different demographics. For example, according to Wilder research, 55 percent of people experiencing homelessness have a serious mental illness. And Second Harvest Heartland reported since 2008, visits by seniors to Minnesota’s emergency food programs have increased more than 70 percent.
For more than 45 years, United Way of Central Minnesota has empowered local people in need through the caring power of our community. As our community grows, however, the issues facing our community have continued to increase.
The United Way Board of Directors is committed to focusing on solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing the community. The board agreed to place its greatest emphasis on two categories: basic needs and education. Within these categories, five aspirations exist: homelessness, hunger, financial stability, early learning/literacy and quality out-of-school experiences.
“Our vision for the future is bold,” said Ed Laubach, United Way board chair. “For example, we want to make sure our children start kindergarten ready to learn – we know if a child starts behind, they stay behind. We want to ensure everyone in our community has the resources to sustain a quality life.”
While the traditional way of fundraising and donating to nonprofits worked effectively for many years, it’s necessary for United Way to adapt to meet the changing needs in Central Minnesota. Therefore, the organization is shifting to a community-impact model. At its core, this transformation is about a fundamental shift from being a very successful umbrella fundraising organization to an initiative-based organization focusing on long-term, measurable impact by strategically aligning donor dollars to address critical community issues.
In the past, UWCM looked at community impact through the lens of outcomes achieved by funded agency programs. UWCM’s new vision focuses on strategic alignment and will look at agencies through the filter of both direct impact and community impact.
The new model will focus on mobilizing diverse resources and partnerships that go beyond the dollars pledged through the annual campaign. Strategies include roles for advocacy and volunteerism as well as roles for other partners and systems to connect.
“Under the old model, United Way funded more than 45 programs,” said Patrick Powell, United Way president and CEO. “With the new strategic direction, there are new strategies developed which include all target populations and which address important community needs. Existing partners as well as new programs and collaborations are encouraged to apply for funding.”
An application will be due Nov. 16 and can be found at www.unitedwayhelps.org. Invitations to submit a full application will be made on Nov. 30. There will be a required training session for all invited applicants in December. Once invited agencies have completed the training, they will have until Feb. 1 to complete the application.
For more information on the application process, contact Betty Schnettler or Christine Midthun at United Way of Central Minnesota at 252-0227.
About United Way of Central Minnesota
United Way of Central Minnesota is improving lives by mobilizing the caring power in Central Minnesota, focusing on education, income, health and basic needs. A local board of directors governs UWCM and all funding decisions are made by trained, community volunteers. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. For more information on how you can join United Way and its partners to build a stronger Central Minnesota, please visit www.unitedwayhelps.org or call 252-0227.