Special to the Daily World
On June 13, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta’s Board of Directors approved its annual allocation through the Community Impact Pool. For the 2012-13 fiscal year, United Way is projecting that it will invest more than $75 million in our 13-county region.
Of that $75 million, $16.3 million will be invested in nonprofits through the Community Impact Pool to support high performing agencies in helping us to advance our goals in the focus areas of education, income, health and homelessness. This represents an increase of 10 percent over last year’s pool, which enables us to accelerate our results in the community.
Through the Community Impact Pool, United Way combines the contributions of tens of thousands of individuals and focuses those contributions to solve pressing regional issues. Additional community investments will be made from our Initiative and Innovation Pools, foundation funds, Gifts in Kind, and dollars raised by United Way but designated to specific nonprofit organizations.
More than 200 trained volunteers spent hundreds of hours reviewing applications and conducting site visits. They made the most informed decisions possible, given there was significantly greater demand than supply. In some cases this resulted in our inability to fund agencies that competed well and are indeed making an impact within the community. A total of 172 agencies were considered in this process requesting more than $26 million in funds. Utilizing a zero-based funding process, without regard to previous year’s grants, United Way will fund 147 agencies.
Agencies that received funding last year were invited to apply in their same funding areas of education, income, health and homelessness. In addition to currently funded agency partners, we opened our investment process to allow new programs/agency partners to compete for funding in targeted priority areas to fill a need in areas where gaps were identified.
We saw a qualitative improvement in agency performance and applications. Large and small agencies across the region competed well by providing greater program details, sharpening their ability to communicate measurable impact in their programs and receiving high scores in the evaluation process.
Our investment strategy, implemented in last year’s funding cycle, was a result of a strategic plan approved by United Way’s Board of Directors in March, 2009. The plan is based on extensive study by United Way community volunteers and stakeholders — grantees, donors, civic/corporate leaders, the Board and United Way management — to ensure maximum impact against our community’s priorities.
“There are several signs of progress that show we are advancing toward measurable change in our region. We have set a bigger community table and new partners are accepting the invitation to work together in developing a shared vision for change,” said Milton J. Little, Jr., president of United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta. “This is opening new doors and uncovering new ways of serving unmet needs in our community.”
To ensure the integrity of the grant process, fairness and transparency were cornerstones throughout the application process and site visits. Final approval came from the United Way Board. For a complete listing of 2012-13 grant awards, go to unitedwayatlanta.org.