United Way will support 249 Birmingham and regional programs in 2020


Trained Volunteer Allocation members make a site visit at the agencies they are asked to review. This one was the Community Food Bank. Photo courtesy of United Way of Central Alabama

Recently, United Way of Central Alabama’s Board of Directors approved a $26.4 million allocation to 71 United Way partner agencies. The funding will support 249 programs within a five-county region that includes Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, Blount and Walker counties.

Funding by the Community for the Community

Photo courtesy of United Way of Central Alabama

The funding recommendation was made by members of the UWCA Allocations Committee, led by Tracey Morant Adams, Sr. Executive Vice President and Chief Community Development & Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at Renasant Bank.

In 2019, over 500 community volunteers from more than 100 organizations reviewed United Way’s agency programs.

The allocations will be invested in United Way’s four impact areas.

Here is a breakdown, by percentage, of how the allocations will be distributed into each impact area:

38% in health
27% in education
13% in financial stability
22% in access to services

“We work hard to assure that United Way dollars are being used effectively throughout the UWCA five-county area,” said Morant Adams.

“Our team is well-diversified and very committed to making sure the allocations process is fair and efficient—both to the UWCA partner agencies and to the hundreds of thousands of individuals served through the agency programs.”

How the allocation process works

United Way Volunteer Allocation Team. Photo courtesy of United Way of Central Alabama

Annually, agencies submit funding requests for specific programs. They provide detailed agency and program information and also provide an on-site presentation to United Way’s Volunteer Allocation teams.
The volunteers ask probing questions about agency management, measurable program results, how clients are served and the effectiveness of each program. This ensures donations are distributed fairly and to maximum effect.

The meetings are always challenging because funding requests always EXCEED dollars to allocate.

Why does the work of the United Way Allocation Committee matter?

Volunteer Allocation Team member looking over Ronald McDonald brochure. Photo courtesy of United Way of Central Alabama

One reason why our local United Way has received the highest possible scores from charitable rating services, such as Charity Navigator, is due to the process of their Visiting Allocation Teams.

Along with holding the United Way accountable, community volunteers get to review partner agencies and personally hear testimonials from agency clients before they determine the allocations.

Here is an example.

Childcare Resources

“United Way’s allocation to Childcare Resources is critical to our mission,” stated Joan Wright, Executive Director of Childcare Resources.

The organization was established as an outgrowth of a child care task force, convened by United Way of Central Alabama, received its first allocation in 1984.

“The funding from United Way affords our agency the opportunity to best fulfill our mission to meet the demands for services from our agency. In the absence of this significant portion of our annual budget, we would not be able to meet the needs of the community for quality and affordable child care. United Way founded our agency and is still the primary reason we exist today.”

Joan Wright speaking at a press conference for Alabama School Readiness Alliance. Photo courtesy of United Way of Central Alabama

Now, 36 years later, Childcare Resources supports over 2800 children by providing information, education, and assistance to families, providers of child care, and the community.

249 Programs Working for Central Alabama

This is just one of the 249 agency programs that receive funds through an annual allocation from United Way.

Because of local volunteers, United Way can genuinely say they provide funding for the community by the community.

To learn more about United Way Visiting Allocation teams and ways you can support our community through United Way, visit www.uwca.org.

Sponsored by:

Birmingham, United Way of Central Alabama

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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