The United Way allocation season is underway. We had our team meetings last week and the volunteers chose which proposals to read and which agencies to visit. Tracy is busy finalizing the site visit schedule. March Madness Without the Hoops is about to begin.
My stack - I read all 39 proposals as the CIC co-chair - awaits me in the living room. I already have a stack of notes on top of the stack of proposals to remind me of questions I want to ask or items I want to look for as I read. Between now and the end of April (the month, not me, I hope!), United Way will get a lot of my time and my thoughts.
We are fortunate in that the campaign appears to be holding its own after taking a hard hit last season. If everything comes out where we think it will, United Way will have approximately $1.7 million dollars to allocate.
That is a very nice number, until you realize that the requests total a little over $2.5 million.
The needs have increased because of the Great Recession. The agencies that receive state funding have lost funding; the agencies that rely on donors are trying to stay even. The local impact of the Great Recession has been significant.
Monday, as Patricia and I walked, she voiced her husband's opinion that "we haven't seen the worst of it yet" here in Ohio. He works in a state office and is watching the state financial picture tilt from precarious to bad to worse. I agreed with her, and immediately thought of all those United Way proposals sitting on my coffee table.
United Way campaigns nationwide are wrapping up in the next few weeks; ours is winding down as well. When our CIC meets on April 17 to make funding recommendations to the Board, we will know the final total we have to allocate. We will know if we indeed have the $1.7 million. We already know that whatever that final number is, it won't equal the amount of requests. It will be in our laps to make the best recommendations possible as to where those dollars should be spent to do the most good in our community.
Many of our local United Way agencies work with folks at the ground level of poverty and need. Others work to prevent their clients from sinking to that ground level. Still others work to help boost their clients a little higher above whatever level they may be on right now. All of them - clients and agencies alike - are hoping for a better tomorrow.
This is my fifth and final year as a United Way volunteer. Volunteers rotate out, to keep the views of the readers fresh, and it is time for me to step aside. It has been a wonderful experience, one of the most significant and meaningful of my community involvement.
I started reading the 2010 proposals last night. 38 other United Way volunteers in Delaware County are doing the same thing over the next two weeks. Tracy and Brandon at the United Way office are doing the same thing as well.
Godspeed to them and to all United Way readers everywhere who are giving their time and commitment to make tomorrow better for us all.