United Way of Southern Kentucky announces investments in local education, income, health, and safety net programs


United Way of Southern Kentucky announced recently that it is investing a total of $947,666 in Education, Income, Health, and Safety Net programs and services for its July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 funding period. Twenty-four local service providers and 35 programs will receive the allocated campaign dollars and donor designations. As part of this investment, $95,382 will be directed to Education and Transportation initiatives that will be allocated separately within the next several months in areas identified with service gaps.

To receive funding from United Way of Southern Kentucky, programs had to align with the four areas deemed most important by a recent 3-year long community research project conducted by United Way which included nearly 5,000 surveys, 55 Community Conversations, and large amounts of secondary data. The four broad areas of most concern were defined by the community as: Education, Income, Health, and Safety Net. Programs also were evaluated on the following IMPACT criteria: (Innovative, Measured, Partnered/Collaborative, Accountable, Community-centered, Transformative). This includes an emphasis on programs that provide services within a best practices framework, that are collaborative and integrated into the fabric of other community education, income, health and safety net efforts, that consider the goals, needs and aspirations of the communities they serve, and that are innovative.

In October of 2015, organizations with programs impacting UWSK’s strategic imperatives in each of the defined Community Impact issue areas (Education, Income, Health, and Safety Net) were asked to submit a Letter of Intent indicating their desire to complete a full application request for funding. 83 total Letters of Intent were submitted requesting $2,935,069 in funding. Upon review by the Letter of Intent Committee, 54 of those that were submitted were invited to complete the full application. In February 2016, Warren County full applications were submitted for pre-review by the Pre-Review Committee with the remainder of the county applications being submitted in March. The Pre-Review committee evaluated the applications submitted based upon three pieces of foundational criteria: the program’s meaningful impact on the identified strategy; if UW has the means to fulfill the funding request; and that the funding would expand or improve the program for existing programs.

Those who were invited to move forward upon Pre-Review had the opportunity to move forward in the application process and be evaluated by a more detailed set of criteria. Programs that cleared this phase of evaluation moved forward to a full review and visit with the Allocations Committee. With the full review by the Allocations Committee and recommendation to and approval by the UWSK Board of Directors complete, funding will now be awarded to the programs selected.

Through the 35 funded programs, United Way will provide the opportunities for services to individuals for the following building blocks for a good quality of life such as:

1. Education

a. Create career pathways for students through a state-of-the art learning environment

b. Increase access to high-quality licensed childcare

c. Train parents to be their child’s first and best teacher

2. Income

a. Provide training skills to increase wages of single parents while simultaneously providing low cost afterschool programming for their children

b. Assist adults with obtaining academic skills and credentials needed to transition to post-secondary education, function productively in the workforce, and support their families.

3. Health

a. Provide victims of domestic violence and their children a safe environment in order to focus on treatment options, safety planning, and eventual recovery

b. Educate and advocate for elderly long-term care residents to improve health and well being

c. Educate school age children about the dangers of bullying, sexual harassment, dating violence, and stalking

4. Safety Net

a. Increase awareness and advocate for safe, affordable housing

b. Provide emergency housing to individuals who are homeless or in crisis

2016/17 marks the first funding cycle for the new community impact plan in these areas welcoming new partners such as The Barren County School District, The Foundry Christian Community Center, and The Housing Authority’s WROTE program to the table. The Community Impact plan was developed to create long-term community change and serve as a road map for United Way and its partners on how to build a better community that provides opportunity for all. At its core, Community Impact harnesses the power of the entire community to create significant, sustainable improvements, and thus it requires many community partners working together to solve complex, systematic problems.

Allocation dollars were determined based on the work of 114 volunteers from Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson, and Warren Counties. These volunteers invested approximately 1,500 hours to the process which began with training sessions for all volunteers. Volunteers reviewed programs, finances, governance, and outcomes to develop the recommendations for program investments.

The following issue areas will receive funding based upon those recommendations:

EDUCATION INVESTMENTS TOTAL: $430,147

Led by Education Committee Chair: Joe Tinius

Kindergarten Readiness: $237,646

College & Career Readiness: $192,501

Investments made into Education programs were made with the primary goal in advancing United Way’s BIG BOLD GOALS in Education:

KINDERGARTEN READINESS BIG BOLD GOAL: Increase BRADD area kindergarten readiness scores to 75% by 2020. Scores were at 49.4% when the goal was established.

COLLEGE & CAREER READINESS BIG BOLD GOAL: Increase BRADD area college & career readiness scores to 80% by the year 2020. Scores were at 65% when the goal was established.

INCOME INVESTMENTS TOTAL: $45,862

Led by Income Committee Chair: Dr. James McCaslin

Workforce Development: $45,862

HEALTH INVESTMENTS TOTAL: $284,838

Led by Health Committee Co-chairs: Dr. Neale Chumbler and Mike Sherrod

Access to Affordable Healthcare: $137,733

Safe Home & Community: $147,105

SAFETY NET INVESTMENTS TOTAL: $186,819

Led by Safety Committee Chair: Bill Waltrip

Access to Basic Needs: $154,720

Transportation: $32,099

These investments include the following programs broken down by county:

LOGAN COUNTY: $120,663

Led by Logan County Chair: Ken Campbell

EDUCATION: $52,828

Community Action Head Start $6,486

Junior Achievement Future Prepared $4,000

Summer Investment to be made in Kindergarten Readiness $22,863

Summer Investments to be made in College and Career Readiness $19,479

INCOME: $8,785

Logan County Adult Education & Workforce Development’s ABE/GED Support Services $8,785

HEALTH: $33,189

Barren River Long Term Care Ombudsman $9,000

Kentucky Legal Aid Benefits Counseling $6,500

Branches of BRASS $6,000

Family Enrichment Center Parent Education $5,500

Hope Harbor Community Education & Prevention $3,079

Kentucky Legal Aid Emergency Shelter & Crisis Aid to Protect & Empower $3,110

SAFETY NET: $25,861

Logan County Good Samaritan Emergency Assistance $21,861

Kentucky Legal Aid Emergency Legal Assistance $4,000

“It is incredibly exciting to finally reach this point where we are announcing the initial investments in our new platform of work,” says Debbie Hills, President & CEO of United Way of Southern Kentucky. “What began nearly four years ago as a long thought out decision by the UWSK Board of Directors to chart a new course for long term community change, culminates today with these important investments. In that four-year period, extensive community input from our ten-county service area was amassed, and it served as the foundation for the new focus. While we have called it “United Way’s Community Impact Focus”, it truly is “the Community’s Impact Focus”. Thousands of people have invested time, passion and energy in this transition including survey and community conversation participants, area experts,

allocations volunteers and board members. We are ready to forge ahead with our collaborative efforts and to begin to affect critical community issues.”

For more information on how you can make the choice to LIVE UNITED through giving, advocating and volunteering, log on to the United Way of Southern Kentucky website at www.liveunitedtoday.com.

United Way of Southern Kentucky (UWSK) is a local, independent, non-profit organization that works to identify and address the issues that matter most, change conditions and improve lives. The mission of United Way of Southern Kentucky is to be the leader in bringing together the resources to build a stronger, more caring community. United Way is focused on the building blocks for good quality of life – Education, Income, Health and Safety Net. Therefore, the vision of United Way is a Southern Kentucky where all residents are educated, healthy, and financially stable. Incorporated as a charitable non-profit entity in 1956, UWSK has long served a major role in the community by bringing people together to create opportunities that make a measurable difference in the quality of life for people where they live and

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