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United Way Allocation Process Under Way

Submitted Article

FULTON, NY – A committee consisting of more than 30 volunteers, on five different panels, has recently begun the 2008 United Way Allocations Process.

These volunteers, representing a cross section of Oswego County, are responsible for evaluating the various agency programs and recommending to the United Way Board of Directors the annual funding support for the agency’s programs.

Members of the United Way of Greater Oswego County Allocations Committee, Health and Special Needs Panel, meet to review member agency programs. From left are community volunteers Helen Hoefer; Debbie Deeb, co-chair of the committee; John Mosher; Jo-Lyn Phillips; and Veronica LaBarge.The volunteers serve on one of five panels which deal with a specific field of service: Emergency Services, chaired by Jim Mahoney; Providing for Senior Services, Debra Braden; Children & Family Services, chaired by Shawn Seale; Health & Special Needs Services, chaired by Debbie Deeb; and Youth Development, chaired by Bob Hunter.

In addition to reviewing member agencies, each allocation panel has the opportunity to see firsthand the United Way dollars at work.

The panels visit every member agency in Oswego County that provides United Way funded programs.

The process allows the allocation panels to help determine which agencies are most in need and which programs best meet the United Way’s criteria for funding.

United Way board member Seale of Key Bank is co-chair of the United Way’s Allocation Committee and serves on the Children & Family Services panel.

He has visited several agencies including; Oswego County Opportunities, Catholic Charities of Oswego County, and the Discovery Day Care Center to hear about how United Way funded programs that these agencies offer provide assistance to children and families in need in throughout Oswego County.

He has found the work of the allocation panels to be very effective in evaluating the various agency programs and assessing the impact these programs have on their recipients.

“The allocations process is very important as it allows people who have no ties with the agencies and/or programs to take an objective look at what the programs do and how they impact the community. It also allows these same people the opportunity to see how the United Way dollars are being used in our community and realize that the United Way ensures that their dollars are used wisely by holding its member agencies accountable and measuring their programs outcomes. While it can be difficult deciding what programs receive funding it is also very rewarding to be able to award agencies what they need monetarily to continue their programs,” said Seale.

John Mosher, co-chair of the Allocations Committee, echoed those thoughts.

“I have been involved with the allocation process for the past four years and I have found it to be a rewarding experience, both from the aspect of learning more about the increasing needs of the people in Oswego County and from the pleasure of meeting many of the great volunteers that make our community a better place to live,” he said.

Deeb, who has served as a volunteer on the Health & Special Needs panel for the past three years, continues to be impressed by the allocation process.

“I find the process to be remarkable. We have the opportunity to meet those who are in charge of administering the program as well as those who benefit from the program. It is an honor to see the opportunities provided to those with special needs. The United Way’s member agencies in Oswego County do an incredible job of meeting the various needs of many,” she said.

Deeb added that being involved with the allocation process is truly an enlightening experience.

“Until I served on an allocation’s committee, I really did not know exactly what United Way did,” said Deeb. “Serving on the allocations committee has allowed me to see the many people who would otherwise fall through the cracks if they were not aided by the various agencies that help them. Those agencies would not have been able to effectively serve so many if it were not for the generous donations from the residents of Oswego County to their United Way. I am able to see where the United Way dollars go and realize that they are indeed well-spent.”

“It is an honor to be able to hear the many stories of those who have been helped. One example would be Aurora. The Aurora agency assists individuals who are blind, deaf, visually impaired, hard of hearing, late-deafened and deaf-blind allowing them to lead independent and productive lives. Aurora accomplishes this through a multitude of services ranging from advocacy and education to job readiness and education,” added Deeb.

The allocation panels work hard to ensure that donor dollars are invested in programs that will have the greatest impact on the needs of Oswego County.

“As co-chair, my role is to make sure that a process is in place to adequately review all United Way program funding requests. This process includes measures that evaluate community impact, financial due-diligence, and stakeholder engagement. These measures are implemented by a very dedicated group of community volunteers, who donate a great deal of time and effort to thoroughly review each program,” said Mosher.

Once the panels’ recommendations are completed the Board of Directors for the United Way of Greater Oswego County reviews the recommended allocations and grants its final approval.

“We are very pleased and proud of the allocations process. The Allocation Committee gives so much of their time and talent, and we feel fortunate to have such dedicated volunteers. I would recommend involvement with the allocations process to anyone in this community, especially all United Way donors, as it really proves that the money you contribute is well utilized,” said President of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Greater Oswego County, John Scardella.

The United Way of Greater Oswego County is focused on providing area businesses and employees with an effective, efficient way to support the community’s most valuable health and human services by:

Assessing and communicating community needs.

Seeking and raising the resources that fund the needs of the community.

Effectively distributing the resources that address community issues with a focus on results.

Communicating results to United Way donors so they can be assured that their dollars are at work throughout Oswego County.

The United Way of Greater Oswego County raises funds through an annual community-wide campaign.

Contributions raised are distributed to more than 30 member agency programs throughout Oswego County.

These agency programs address the greatest number of human service needs such as, strengthening families, promoting self-sufficiency, improving health, assisting senior citizens, youth and the disabled.

For more information, call Melanie Trexler at 593-1900.