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Kirk Center loses United Way funding
united way

The United Way of the Coastal Empire’s Liberty County Office has allocated and disbursed its 2015 funds to several local nonprofit agencies, but the Kirk Healing Center was not one of the recipients.
“For the 2015 funding year, the Liberty County investment panel unanimously recommended to our Board of Directors to discontinue funding to the Healing for the Homeless program of Kirk Healing Center, Inc.,” Daniela Trajkovska the senior director of community investments for the United Way of the Coastal Empire said in a written statement. “Making this defunding decision for a program that serves homeless individuals in a county that is in dire need of homeless services, did not come lightly. The program failed to meet United Way’s standards of performance including delivery of outcomes and fiscal accountability and sustainability.”
Jennifer Darsey, area director for the Liberty County United Way, said every organization has to apply for UW dollars every year.
“There is no organization that is once funded, always funded,” she said.
Darsey said agencies seeking funds submit applications, which are reviewed by a panel of volunteers. None of the volunteers are UW employees, rather, representatives of their community who help make the funding decisions.
“This year in Liberty County, we had 12 panel-review members, and we met on four different days,” Darsey said.
She said the panel was able to sit with each organization’s director, CEO, chief financial officer or board. Each organization was afforded the opportunity to interview with the entire panel, a process that takes 45 minutes to an hour.
“The panel is able to go line by line through that individual’s grant application, and it helps (the panel members) make that funding decision and they vote. The entire panel votes on each organization that receives funding every single year,” Darsey explained.
Darsey said the Liberty County UW issued 2015 funds to Helen’s Haven Child Advocacy Center, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Tri-County Women’s Protective Shelter, Frasier Counseling Center, Manna House, St. James Development Center and Hinesville Senior Center.
Kirk Healing Center founder Dr. Alicia Kirk said her agency still receives checks from the United Way from people who designate donations to the center.
Darsey explained that people have the ability to designate contributions, and those designations are in addition to the grant funding received each year.
“For example, if the panel votes to give an organization $10,000, that organization will receive the $10,000, and if donors designated to them specifically, they will receive those monies in addition to the grant money awarded,” she said.
Kirk said she has requested to meet with the United Way of the Coastal Empire board regarding funding issues. A meeting has been set for April 28.
“UWCE is committed to continuing to explore and invest in other high-performing programs and community partnerships in Liberty County that address this pressing community need, and welcoming applications for Opportunity Funding which opens this month,” Trajkovska said.
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