Who decides where the money goes?
Have you ever wondered who decides where your United Way of Williamson County Community Impact Fund contributions go?
Volunteers just like you. People who live and/or work in Williamson County – longtime residents and newcomers; retirees and young professionals; the list goes on. These volunteers are as diverse as our community, but they come together in a shared goal: To ensure your generosity creates the maximum impact possible in removing barriers to learning, supporting the community’s most vulnerable and reducing burdens of financial need.
How do they do that? By serving as Citizens’ Review Panel volunteers for UWWC’s allocations process, an intense review of the programs requesting funding.
Each year, beginning in February, volunteers who have expressed interest in serving the allocations process receive information about the upcoming reviews and presentations and are given the opportunity to indicate their preferred schedules.
Volunteers are assigned to 1 of 6 panels according to the volunteer’s availability. Each panel is responsible for reviewing a portion of the programs seeking funding, with programs divided according to UWWC’s focus areas: Education, Income and Health; and further subdivided according to the program’s Specific Outcome Measurements.
Volunteers are provided access to a range of financial records and outcome documentation from the program applicants assigned to their panel.
During this review, volunteers have the opportunity to see how the programs performed during the previous year. How many people were served? How many people saw positive changes resulting from the program’s services? Have program administrators been responsible stewards of financial contributions they’ve received previously?
But numbers only give you part of the picture. That’s why volunteers follow up their document reviews with in-person visits to the program sites. Each panel divides into teams of 2-3 volunteers to visit a portion of the programs assigned to their panel. This gives them the chance to ask program administrators any clarifying questions and simply see the program at work.
When all the site visits are finished, program administrators meet with the full panel assigned to the program. This allows program representatives to present more information about the work they do, while also allowing panel members who did not visit the program site to learn more.
Panel members use all the information they’ve received to reach a consensus on funding recommendations for each program they’ve been assigned to review. These recommendations are presented to UWWC’s Executive Committee by our Allocations Chair and then to the full Board of Directors.
The full UWWC Board of Directors reviews and approves all funding decisions.
When you contribute to the Community Impact Fund, volunteers like you make sure your donations are used responsibly and to maximum effect. Through the Community Impact Fund and the Citizens’ Review Panel, you can be assured that your contributions are going to meet the communities most urgent needs in removing barriers to learning, supporting the communities most vulnerable and reducing burdens of financial need.