United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley will allocate the $5.2 million raised during the 2013 campaign to 50 local programs administered by 26 agencies in the community, the organization announced this week.
The organizations receiving the largest allocations include the Family Center of Columbus Inc. ($560,000), Easter Seals West Georgia Inc. ($527,000), Girls Incorporated of Columbus & Phenix and Russell ($487,000), and Boys and Girls Clubs of the Chattahoochee Valley ($405,500).
Two current partners, the Chattahoochee Valley Jail Ministry and the Crisis Center of Russell County, will receive funding for new programs. The programs are the jail ministry's Safe House and the county's Crisis Center of Education Prevention. Allocations were recommended by nine teams of community volunteers who reviewed applications during a six-week period.
"It was a rigorous application process and those that were awarded funding proved they had solid governance, effective leadership, and ability to measure the impact of their work," said Scott Ferguson, United Way president, in a statement released by the organization. "The community investment volunteers along with United Way Board of Directors strategically invested funds in programs that would have the most impact in our community. The community investment volunteers have worked hard to review programs and ensure donations are allocated to agencies who demonstrate need, stewardship and results."
The local United Way serves residents of Chattahoochee, Harris, Marion, Muscogee, Stewart, Talbot and Taylor counties in Georgia and Russell County in Alabama. The organization raised a total of $7,030,034 during the 2013 campaign, which surpassed its $7 million goal. It also broke the record set in 2012 when the campaign raised $6.9 million. A Combined Federal Campaign at Fort Benning raised an additional $623,146.98 in 2013, Ferguson said.
But not all the money raised during the annual campaigns are allocated to agencies.
"We never collect 100 percent of the dollars pledged. People change jobs, stop their pledges, etc.," said Ferguson. "So based upon past history we set aside 9.25 percent of the total dollars raised knowing we will not collect it, which is standard practice. And the remainder is our operating budget which is actually down a little bit this year."
In addition to reviewing applications, volunteers conducted site visits to see the programs in action. They also met with board members, clients and staff, according to a news release issued by the organization. Most volunteers were also United Way campaign volunteers, who helped raise the money during the campaign.
Each application was also reviewed by a separate group of five financial experts who volunteered from the community. Programs were evaluated for how they met a community need, achieved results and exercised good stewardship, according to the release. Services that addressed basic needs, income, health and education were the top priorities.
"It is incredibly rewarding to serve with 65 community volunteers who are totally devoted to evaluating and recommending the most effective and responsible way to invest donor contributions," said Bob Kidd, CEO of Hecht Burdeshaw Architects Inc. and chairman of the allocation board. "Our local allocations process is second to none in maximizing the caring power of our community -- together we touch thousands of lives for the better."