United Way shifts funding to target children, families in poverty

Thursday, October 18, 2012 | 7:16 p.m. CDT; updated 7:51 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 18, 2012

COLUMBIA -- Heart of Missouri United Way Inc. has released a list of agencies that will receive funding under a new approach designed to target children and families in poverty.

United Way will allocate $3.2 million to programs that promote health and education, assist with income-related issues or create a "safety net" for basic needs as part of its Community Impact plan. United Way is hoping to raise $4 million in contributions for the campaign.

"I think it is going to change the way we as a community work on solving pressing community issues," Heart of Missouri United Way executive director Tim Rich said.

Eight new agencies have been added to the funding list: the Columbia Housing Authority, Columbia Montessori School, the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, For His Glory Inc., Love INC, Mid-Missouri Legal Services, United Community Builders and the Youth Empowerment Zone.

Phil Steinhaus, CEO of the Columbia Housing Authority, said his agency was excited to receive $69,040 to fund the Powered by Moms program, which matches parents with peer mentors who advise them on child-rearing, educational and financial issues.

"A lot of moms out there rely on other moms for good advice on raising their kids," Steinhaus said. "We're building that component into a program that will help parents raise their children."

Steinhaus said Powered by Moms is designed to be an ongoing program. He hopes to recruit 40 families in 2o13, 10 more the following year, and maintain the 50-family caseload for the year after that.

Love INC will receive $150,000, the most of any of the new agencies. Executive director Randy Hodill said the two $75,000 grants will be put toward clearinghouse services and expenses for Extra Mile, a personal and financial mentoring program. 

"We're delighted, and we thank United Way for having confidence in us and our programs," Hodill said.

Ten agencies currently receiving money from United Way, however, will no longer be covered under the new plan, including the MU Adult Day Connection and the Boone County Council on Aging.

Rich said three agencies — the Alzheimer's Association, OATS Inc. and Meals on Wheels — did not apply for funding for 2013.

JoNetta Weaver, executive director of Meals on Wheels, said the agency received 17 percent of its budget from United Way and would need to fundraise to make up for the deficiency.

"We're talking to groups of people right now," she said.

Education programs will receive the greatest portion of funds at $771,127, or 24 percent of the total funds, while safety net services will receive 21 percent at $681,000. Health and income programs will receive $617,796 and $278,000, respectively, or about 19 and 9 percent of the overall funds. 

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