This summer, United Way of the Plains is going online to celebrate the work of programs we fund in south central Kansas that help us tackle the root causes of our community’s toughest issues.
Investing dollars into programs in our community is one way United Way of the Plains works to strengthen our community in the areas of health, education and financial stability. Our funding cycle for our program investments is from July 2021 to June 2022. This year, United Way is investing in 52 programs; these programs are working to improve 15 causes related to health, 16 related to education and 21 related to financial stability, which includes homeless services.
The financial investments we make to address crucial needs are determined by community volunteers. More than 100 of these volunteers complete training sessions on how to read budgets and evaluate programs. These volunteers each spend an average of 20 hours reviewing applications and prioritizing a list of recommended causes they believe the community cares most about and where we have the most need. Their funding recommendations are reviewed, discussed, and approved by the community leaders who fill the membership seats on our Board of Directors.
When determining where to invest these charitable donations provided by the people of our community, one important consideration is given to measurable outcomes on how a program will make the most impact in helping to address the community’s most critical needs. United Way is dedicated to being a good steward of every gift it receives, and is determined to invest in those causes the people care most about and that can do the most good in strengthening our community.
We don’t view ourselves as providing a grant to an individual agency, but instead we are investing in programs to help us improve the socio-economic conditions in our neighborhoods so that every person has a better opportunity to achieve their human potential. We are also making modest investments year-round, rather than strictly during one designated annual period, so that the needs of our neighbors are met sooner and issues are resolved more quickly before the opportunity to help is lost. Our neighborhood investments are now more timely and relevant to the community.
By modifying the way we determine how to invest resources in our community, we are striving to make a more meaningful impact on the issues we face and for the people who need our help the most. Tackling the root cause of a problem from different angles creates real and lasting change in our community. Rather than putting a Band-Aid on a problem, we are working to strategically address the why behind a problem and partnering with others to do the real work required to make a positive difference.
In this online series about the programs that help us achieve this goal of addressing root causes, you will be able to see how these programs help our neighbors. You will learn about each cause and how we are addressing them with our partners. As you learn, perhaps you will be persuaded to help; we cannot fight for change alone. At the very least, we hope you will be inspired by these stories and have a greater appreciation for the vital role United Way plays in our community.
Join us. Watch our blog and social media accounts, and learn why and how we do what we do.