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The Community Investment Fund

Who decides how to get the most out of your donation to United Way’s Community Investment Fund? You might be surprised to learn that one of your neighbors may be among our team of more than 100 local volunteers who use their first hand knowledge of the strengths and needs of the community to determine how Community Investment funds will be most effectively used. These volunteers have backgrounds in health and human services, education, banking, finance, human resources, law, and public administration. They are trained to assess “what’s working” and “what’s needed” in order to determine the appropriate level of support awarded to programs and community initiatives that serve individuals, children and families, and neighborhoods in our 40-town region. The Community Investment Fund is the pool of undesignated dollars donated through the United Way Community Campaign.

The Process

First, an interested nonprofit organization applies to be considered a United Way partner agency. These agencies must meet minimum requirements of eligibility, including proof of nonprofit 501(c)3 status, leadership by a board of directors, effective management, a firm financial situation, and a focus on human services. Those that meet these certification standards become United Way partners and are listed in United Way Community Campaign materials. Agencies must be certified to be considered for an invitation to apply for Community Investment funding.

United Way of the Capital Area funds specific programs and community initiatives that meet community needs. To obtain funding, a partner agency must be able to articulate how its programs will get results that contribute to United Way’s vision – how children, families, or the community will have greater chances for success as a result of its work. In addition, they must be masters of their field, which involves having experienced and well-trained staff and staying up to speed with the latest successful innovations.

Agencies invited to apply for funding do so during the winter via an online application, providing information on past results, anticipated outcomes, demographics, staff qualifications, and budget. Community Investment volunteers conduct site visits and ultimately make funding recommendations to the Board of Directors in June. Funding decisions are based on outcome evaluations of the programs, in addition to financial and budget review. Funding commences in July and runs through the following June.

If you would like more information or would like to become a Community Investment volunteer, contact Jennifer Gifford, Community Services Director, at (860) 493-1113 or jgifford@uwcact.org.

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