United Way Invests Strategically in Community

WATERLOO, IA – Cedar Valley United Way announced $1,935,075 in investments in the Cedar Valley for the 2017-18 funding year. The funding was made possible by gifts to Cedar Valley United Way’s 2016 campaign.

Of the investments, $1,457,325 was awarded in strategic investment grants to 63 community programs at 33 local nonprofits that address needs in the areas of education, financial 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, the primary goal in determining which organizations will be invested in is “to identify those that are most effective at delivering results that make a measurable difference,” says community income team volunteer Gary Edwards. Programs needed to show strong, assessable outcomes and impact that has proven results in the community.

A complete listing of the 63 programs receiving strategic investment grants is available at www.cedarvalleyunitedway.org/partners.

After deciding which programs will be funded by United Way, community impact team volunteers evaluated how much financial support to give programs. “Multiple factors have to be taken into consideration when determining the amount of support that selected programs will receive,” said health community impact team volunteer Ashley Ungs.  

For example, “We focus on the number of individuals served, the targeted community needs of each funded program, and how funds will specifically be used to advance the common good,” explained Ashley.  

In addition to strategic investment grants, $44,716 has been set aside to be distributed in social innovation grants directed at breaking the cycle of systemic poverty.

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 $26,650 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 $86,075 level.

In addition, $289,709 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.