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United Ways investment process ongoing
Funding applications accepted until Sept. 12
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The United Way of the Coastal Empire is undergoing its yearly community investment process to determine which nonprofit human-service agencies best serve the community’s needs and should receive donor contributions for the 2012 year.

Funding applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12, according to The final funding decision and awards announcements will be made public in March 2012, according to the website.

The United Way is still seeking volunteers to help review community programs and services in Bryan, Chatham and Effingham counties.

However, the UWCE’s Liberty County office has an allocations committee to review funding applications from area agencies. This committee is composed of United Way of the Coastal Empire Liberty advisory board members, according to Jennifer Darsey, executive director of UWCE Liberty.

She said UWCE’s Liberty County office is in a unique situation because the Hinesville/Liberty County community is 40-50 miles from metro Savannah.

“We know where we are falling short in our community and know what will help our community best,” Darsey said.
The United Way focuses on education and youth development, health and wellness, economic independence and basic human needs, she said.

Darsey said the United Way establishes a relationship with each of the agencies it funds and remains in “constant communication” with these organizations year-round, not just during the investment process.

“We keep up with the money allocated to each agency throughout the year,” she said. “It’s not just a one-time deal. We try to be good stewards of the money raised.”

Darsey said the United Way takes a hands-on approach to the investment process.

“We reassess every agency and do site visits,” she said. “We don’t play favorites.”

Darsey said determining which agencies receive grants is not based on precedence. The allocation committee examines agencies’ yearly reports to see if organizations meet stated service goals, she said.

This outcome-based approach to reviewing agencies also gives new agencies an opportunity to receive funding, Darsey said.

“If (new agencies) have excellent data and a business plan and know how many clients will be assisted … we will look at those,” she said.

The local United Way chapter currently has 26 agencies under its umbrella, according to Darsey.

Agencies the UWCE Liberty County office has funded in the past include St. James Community Center, the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, Senior Adult Daycare, CASA, Helen’s Haven, Rape Crisis and Manna House.

For more information on funding applications, call Tara Jennings at 912-651-7722.

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