FULTON, NY â€“ The United Way of Greater Oswego Countyâ€™s Community Investment Committee, which consists of more than 30 volunteers, on five different panels, will soon begin the 2010 United Way funding 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 agencyâ€™s programs.
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, chaired by Debra Braden; Children & Family Services, chaired by Patti Mears; Health & Special Needs Services, chaired by Debbie Deeb; and Youth Development, chaired by Bob Hunter.
In addition to reviewing member agencies, each Community Investment panel has the opportunity to see first-hand 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 Community Investment panels to help determine which agencies are most in need and which programs best meet the United Wayâ€™s criteria for funding.
United Way board of directors member, Shawn Seale of Key Bank, is chair of the United Wayâ€™s Community Investment Committee and has served on the Children and Family Services panel.
In the past, he has visited Oswego County Opportunities, Catholic Charities of Oswego County, and the Discovery Day Care Center to hear how United Way funded programs, which these agencies offer, provide assistance to children and families in need in throughout Oswego County.
He has found his experience with the program funding process a worthwhile one.
â€œThe work that the panels do is very effective in evaluating the various agency programs and assessing the impact that these programs have on those they serve, said Seale. â€œThe program funding process is very important as it allows community members 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 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.â€
Deeb, who has served as a volunteer on the Health & Special Needs panel for the past four years, continues to be impressed by the funding process.
â€œI 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 Wayâ€™s member agencies in Oswego County do an incredible job of meeting the various needs of many,â€ she said.
Deeb added that being involved with the funding process is truly an enlightening experience.
â€œUntil I served on the Community Investment Committee, I really did not know exactly what United Way did,â€ said Deeb.Â â€œServing on this 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.â€
The Community Investment panels work hard to ensure that donor dollars are invested in programs that will have the greatest impact on the needs of Oswego County.
Seale explains,Â â€œAs chairperson 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.â€
Once the panelsâ€™ recommendations are completed, the board of directors reviews the funds recommended and grants their final approval.
â€œWe are proud of our program funding process and very appreciative of the concerned community members who volunteer their time to serve on our Community Investment Committee and choose to make a difference in our community. I would recommend involvement with the funding process to anyone in this community, especially all United Way donors, as it really proves that the money you contribute is well utilized,â€ added president of the board of directors for the United Way of Greater Oswego County, Wendy Tetro.
The United Way is focused on providing area businesses and employees with an effective, efficient way to support the communityâ€™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 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.