COLUMBIA — Youth and families living in poverty are the new focus of the United Way, and the application process for funding organizations within the new model is under way.
The Heart of Missouri United Way held a meeting Tuesday morning to discuss funding opportunities available through the new "community impact" model. The crowd that gathered at Columbia College for the meeting included representatives of currently funded groups, as well as groups hoping to be funded in the future.
Executive Director Tim Rich and Resource Development Director Alexa New gave a presentation highlighting the new model and announcing guidelines for funding applications.
United Way's community impact model has four pillars: education, income, health and safety net. The last pillar, safety net, helps provide short-term resources to families that abruptly lose their incomes. Based on these pillars, the organization hopes to use money and resources to address community problems at their source.
This new direction for the United Way focuses on at-risk youth and families living in poverty but leaves little funding for senior care programs.
“I understand the angst,” Rich said about the senior care organizations that might get cut out. “It does look like as we move forward there are going to be problems with funding.”
Meals on Wheels of Columbia, Boone County Council on Aging, the mid-Missouri chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and Adult Day Connection at MU are four organizations serving seniors that currently receive funding from the United Way but expect to be cut out of the new community impact model.
The change left some people wondering whether the community impact model is too narrow in its approach and whether funding for senior care programs really should be cut out altogether. Many of the questions asked by the audience Tuesday morning focused on the impact the change would have on senior programs.
New asked organizations to “thoughtfully consider how your agency can help the United Way” to bring about change in the areas that the community impact model has targeted.
Previously nonfunded organizations that target at-risk youth and families in poverty will have an opportunity to apply for grants that begin in 2013.
A letter of intent from organizations is due on March 30, and full funding requests go out in May. New said the multi-year grants that begin in January 2013 will be announced in August.