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Deadline for United Way funding April 30

Posted: April 7, 2013 12:40 p.m.
Updated: April 8, 2013 5:00 a.m.

The United Way of Kershaw County held a partner agency meeting on March 28 for interested nonprofit agencies wishing to be considered for funding decisions from United Way for 2014/15. Nonprofits must provide direct services to Kershaw County in the category of social services.

The United Way has four Care Councils which makeup four areas including health, education, financial stability and hunger and homelessness. The main overall goal is to break the cycle of poverty with more specific goals in each area. In education, the goal is to increase the graduation rate to 95% through preschool literacy, mentoring programs and 3rd grade literacy. In the area of financial stability, the goal is to reduce the number of financially unstable working family by half through budget counseling and education, employability skills and job coaches and transportation. In the area of health, the goal is to increase health by 20% in youth and adults through access to healthy foods, healthcare and education in health and wellness. In the area of hunger and homelessness the goal is to end homelessness and hunger in Kershaw County through food for the need (child emphasis), home for every individual family, men’s shelter and affordable housing options.

"The board is very focused on our four main goal areas. If an agency isn’t also focused on one of these four areas then they probably won’t get funded," said Donny Supplee, United Way of Kershaw County president.

He also said that the United Way holds themselves accountable therefore they also hold the nonprofits receiving funding accountable as well.

While the United Way has four main goal areas, Supplee said they had to decide which area the United Way specifically fell under. Supplee said that the health area is taken care of by KershawHealth, the education area is taken care of by the Kershaw County School District and the financial stability area is taken care of by the various banks and businesses around the county. United Way found their special niche in the area of hunger and homelessness which also includes poverty.

"Poverty can be found across all the areas… our goal is to serve those who are underserved and struggling," said Supplee. "We are empowering people to do better."

Supplee said that the entire community has had input in the United Way’s decisions for funding and how to serve the community.

Agencies seeking funding from United Way must also be very goal oriented with specific plans regarding how the county can benefit from their services. The United Way recommends nonprofits applying should focus on their priorities, the way in which they measure success, justification of why they need the funding they are requesting and also that they have the current documented need.

The applications are looked at by over 50 volunteers from the United Way’s donors who also are involved in interviewing the organizations. Visits directly to the agencies will take place over the summer.

At the March 28 meeting, Supplee said there were 21 agencies present; most have been funded in the past along with some newcomers. Those agencies which have already been funded by United Way are also closely inspected. According to the United Way’s funding matrix criteria, the two categories of most importance or that are worth the most points are the areas of past accomplishments through funding and also future plans through funding. These categories are worth a total of 60 out of 100 points. The other priority areas in the funding matrix include the number of individuals impacted, the degree of impact, the scope of services, the proportional size of reserve fund, financial accountability and clarity, utilization of volunteers, the degree of community collaboration and compliance with the United Way Partner Agency Agreement.

According to Supplee, the United Way will select between 20 to 25 nonprofits to be funded.

"This is a bigger deal regarding the amount of money coming back to the community. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding. The focus of the nonprofits applying for funding is important as well as how well they match their goals," said Supplee.

Application is open to any nonprofit agency wishing to be funded by United Way but Supplee recommends interested agencies to "come and have a chat" with him.

"The application is pretty extensive. Not something you can get done in a day and a half or so," said Supplee.

Applications are due by noon on Tuesday, April 30 at the United Way of Kershaw County, 110 E. Dekalb St. in Camden. All materials must be submitted by this time in the order on the application checklist. An original along with 15 copies of the application and all the attachments must be submitted as well. For any other questions or concerns, contact Donny Supplee at 432-0951 or uwkc@truvista.net.

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