WATERLOO, IA – Cedar Valley United Way announced $2,134,430 in investments in the Cedar Valley for the 2016-17 funding year. The funding was made possible by gifts to Cedar Valley United Way’s 2015 campaign.

Of the investments, $1,632,517 was awarded in strategic investment grants to 64 community programs at 33 local nonprofits that address needs in the areas of education, income stability, health, and emergency and basic needs. Strategic investment grants were chosen by community impact team volunteers in each area who reviewed the applications as well as data addressing community needs to determine how United Way could make the largest impact with its community investment. In addition to aligning to United Way’s target areas, programs needed to show strong, measurable outcomes and impact that has proven results in the community.

“The problems facing our community are interrelated. It takes a quality education to get a family-sustaining job. Neither of these are possible without good health,” said Bruce Meisinger, chair of the community impact team for health. “Our volunteer teams looked at each program’s ability to improve lives and make a difference here in the Cedar Valley. There is so much good work happening, and our goal was to enable this work to continue and grow.”

A complete listing of the 64 programs receiving strategic investment grants is available at www.cedarvalleyunitedway.org/partners.

In addition to strategic investment grants, $50,000 has been set aside to be distributed in social innovation grants directed at breaking the cycle of systemic poverty.

“We recognize that to break the cycle of poverty, it’s imperative that we support new and more innovative ways to try and breakthrough the cycle of poverty,” said Rose Middleton, chair of Cedar Valley United Way’s Board of Directors. “Systemic poverty is the root cause of many critical issues facing our community. By addressing the root cause, we can prevent so many community problems from happening.”

Social innovation grant applications are currently being reviewed and recipients will be announced as the grants are awarded. Organizations interested in social innovation grant funding may contact Debbie Roth at debbie.roth@cvuw.org for more information.

Additional community investments include $29,340 in designations to Cedar Valley United Way initiatives including the Books for Babies project, Cedar Valley’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, local book drives and the Women’s Philanthropy Connection.

A $20,600 investment was made in 2-1-1 Information and Referral Services, a resource available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that connects people to human service and health resources in the community.

United Way’s Community Partner Fund received an investment of $10,000 to assist in responding to community needs as they arise. Previous investments in this area have included nonprofit board education and training, disaster response, and inclusion initiatives.

Community services work, a partnership with area labor unions to leverage support for community programs, was supported at an $85,000 level.

In addition, $281,973 will be distributed in donor directed designations to other 501(c)3 organizations as part of United Way’s work to encourage charitable giving.

To learn more about Cedar Valley United Way and its work in the community, visit www.cedarvalleyunitedway.org.