Archived Story

United Way allocates $66,700 to Cass County

Published 9:04am Thursday, October 8, 2009

By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News

United Way of Southwest Michigan Wednesday announced $66,700 in funding decisions for non-profit agencies serving Cass County.

The funding decisions were made by a group of local volunteers.

Three-year funding decisions concentrate on impacting the Cass community in the areas of education, income, health and basic needs.

“I’m pleased with the decisions we made,” said David H. Allen, vice president-regulatory compliance and community development of Midwest Energy Cooperative. “Our task now is to grow the amount of dollars raised in Cass County so we can provide more funding to these and other organizations that are so crucial to our area.”

Anna Murphy, president of United Way of Southwest Michigan in Benton Harbor, said most of the funds would be allocated in January.

The decision process
The grant decision-making process was guided by new impact areas for United Way of Southwest Michigan.

The decision to adopt the new impact areas of education, income, health and basic needs was based on a recent community needs assessment.

The board reviewed existing data on needs and issues in the area and reviewed the results of community focus groups.

Based on the information, the board adopted impact areas of education, income, health and basic needs.

To help guide the decision-making process, the community impact areas were further defined and goals were created.

The goals in each area are:

• Education: providing educational opportunities that help youth to graduate on time and prepare children to enter school ready to learn.

• Income: increasing income through training and education and financial literacy.

• Health: providing programs that help insure babies are born healthy and that children reach developmental milestones on time and teaching people to make healthy decisions while promoting access to health care.

• Basic needs: providing assistance during immediate crisis by removing barriers to self-sufficiency and insuring people feel free from harm.

The grant process was opened up to any non-profit agency serving Cass County that met United Way funding standards and fit within these impact areas. Organizations funded include:

Education
Boy Scout of America, Lasalle Council, traditional Scouting.
Junior Achievement, in-school program.

Region IV Area Agency on Aging, senior volunteer and intergenerational program

Income
Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program.

Habitat of Cass County, general operations,

Health
Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana Inc., Healthy Me program through traditional scouting.

Hospice At Home, Lory’s Place.

Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, grief support education.

Samaritan Counseling Center, counseling services.

Basic needs
Child and Family Services, Link, Safe Shelter, guardianship services.
Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services (DASAS), healthy relationships.
Salvation Army-Niles, emergency services.

Woodlands, services and matching dollars.

In addition to the above decisions, United Way also supported the 2009 Back Pack Give-Away coordinated through Lewis Cass Intermediate School District with a grant for $7,500 in addition to the $66,700.

2009 Campaign
United Way of Southwest Michigan is actively seeking volunteers to help with the 2009 campaign and companies willing to support the United Way by running a campaign in their Cass County business.

“There is a great need for services in Cass County right now,” said Cass County Campaign Manager Sandy Ricci. “We need everyone in the community to play a part in United Way so that we can truly grow the support offered to these and other organizations in Cass County.”

About United Way
United Way is a global network that advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, income and health.

The United Way movement creates long-lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of problems that prevent progress in these areas.

LIVE UNITED is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change. For more information about United Way, visit www.uwsm.org or www.liveunited.org.

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