After the New Year things get busy at the United Way of Jasper County. Agencies submit their applications for funding, volunteers are contacted, lots of copies are made and the allocations process begins.
At the UWJC, 20 community members (board and volunteers) are tasked with reviewing all the applications and supporting documentation from health and human services agencies seeking support from UW. While some may think that this is a simple process it actually spans from end of January to mid-March.
The process includes each team member being assigned to a set of agencies. Once teams have their assignments they set up site visits to see first hand what each of their agencies do. Every year I hear how much people enjoy this part of the process. It is a time to meet staff, see facilities and in many cases talk to people who are receiving vital services.
Once site visits are completed, volunteers pour over the applications which includes an agency profile, application, copy of mid-year reports from previous year funding, agency budget, program budget, list of board of directors, and any supplemental items the agencies want to include.
Then the teams come together for four nights in March to conduct interviews with representatives of the agencies. Questions are asked and answered, and valuable conversation takes place. The team members fill out a detailed review sheet that scores the agencies on a variety of things from having supplied all their documents to how effective the programs are. The teams then turn in their request suggestions.
Once I receive all the information it is compiled and put into a spread sheet which is given to members of the board who meet to designate allocations. This year that meeting is in mid-March. On April 1, agencies will begin receiving funding.
As you can see it isn't as simple as a yes or a no. The allocations process is an important piece of the UW puzzle which allows each agency's program to be evaluated to determine how much money they should receive - if any. This helps ensure your investment in UW is being used to its maximum potential.
Like you, we at UW want to ensure people receive the vital services they need to live their best lives. By having an intense and extensive allocations process we can ensure that we are good stewards of your donations and that the agencies receive the support they need in an effective and efficient manner.
Many hours are spent on this process and I thank the volunteers who give their time to helping United Way of Jasper County.
Executive Director Jessica Lowe has been with United Way of Jasper County since 2014. Prior to her time with the UWJC, Lowe was an award-winning journalist and a marketing director for a non-profit.