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Category: Allocations


What it Means to Be on a Long-Term Recovery Committee

So far, United Way of Southeast Missouri has collected $76,000 for the people in Perryville impacted by the February tornado. Many people have asked how the funds are being distributed, and we are eager for our donors to know exactly how their dollars are being managed.

UWSEMO is one of many organizations represented on a Long-Term Recovery Committee (LTRC). Other members include The Salvation Army, The American Red Cross, First Call for Help, 211, the Perryville Community Foundation, Catholic Charities, and more.

A social worker from the Perryville community is meeting with each of the 58 families impacted to identify their needs and ability to meet them. Many families were well insured and, once their immediate needs were met, they are able to rebuild without needing much in the way of financial assistance. For those families and individuals who need additional help, the case manager brings the unmet needs to the LTRC, where we discuss which organization can help with each unmet need. Some are able to provide donated items, such as clothing, housewares and furniture; others, like UWSEMO, are able to provide funds.

Being involved in this committee is eye opening. There are so many details that must be managed, including responsible management of donations over a long period of time. With only 58 families registering with the case worker, the LTRC must be especially diligent in ensuring we are meeting needs and not carelessly dispensing funds.  I was surprised to learn funds from the Joplin LTRC still are being distributed five years after that community was devastated. Rebuilding takes time, and it does not apply only to physical needs. Children are especially traumatized following an event of this proportion, and we may identify emotional help that should be provided now and into the future.

Helping Perryville rebuild physically and emotionally will be a long process. Fortunately, United Way is a long-standing organization familiar with the patience and diligence needed to help families and individuals rebuild. Creating lasting change is what we do, even when the change is unplanned and unexpected. We and the people of Perryville remain incredibly grateful to our generous donors and volunteers. Thank you.


Budgets, Reports & RFP’s

You may notice a theme as you read the newest blogs for the United Way of Southeast Missouri.  We are all new to our roles and sharing new experiences.  My start with United Way began in May as the Operations Manager.

Although we are a nonprofit, we operate like any other business with monthly receivables, payables and, above all, fiscal responsibility. Our fiscal year ended June 30, which meant spending time with our budgeting process and executing the responsibilities needed to meet the annual requirements of a United Way regional office. 

As a newbie, I can say crafting a budget has been a learning experience, requiring the advice of many volunteers and professional to help guide us, and we’ve made good strides.  Our team is committed to operating as efficiently and responsibly as possible, and we will continue to make adjustments.  It made for an exciting start with the organization and gave me a fast introduction to United Way budgeting practices. 

Part of the fiscal year-end responsibilities also meant a quick introduction to the detailed reports each United Way is required to complete as one of 1800 worldwide chapters. These reports track annual progress and provide global demographics about the contributions the organization receives.  It was a definite challenge! We relied on past reports and a donation tracking tool to help complete the information, and United Way of Southeast Missouri (UWSEMO) is proud to say we completed our United Way Worldwide Membership Requirements on time.  We like to share the big “thumbs up” from United Way Worldwide that’s posted on our website. 

Perhaps one of the most critical challenges I met in my first three months is a process that occurs only once every three years for our organization. We call it our RFP Process when any organization or program that supports our commitment to Education, Income and Health is invited to request funding. With the help of many community volunteers we identify the agencies and programs in which we will invest the donations given by caring individuals and businesses in our community. The process is complicated and difficult, as many outstanding groups apply for assistance. 

I scheduled and participated in several meetings of volunteers who comprise our Board, Community Impact Committee and Proposal Review Panel who, with United Way staff, reviewed 34 applications and made 26 site visits. We are extremely thankful for those who submitted and reviewed applications, made recommendations, visited agencies, and reviewed and ranked results. These volunteers often contribute time outside of normal work schedules and show great dedication to help strengthen the community we all share.

There are many extraordinary people we meet and work with every day.  Thank you to everyone for being so supportive in these first months.


Allocations Review Process

As Director of Operations and Community Impact, one of my responsibilities is leading our annual allocations process- a several week process that recently culminated in our 2015 allocations announcements earlier this week. I often get the question of what that process looks like, which has prompted me to write this blog.

United Way of Southeast Missouri creates and sustains solutions for our community by ensuring people have the building blocks, education, income and health, for opportunity. To make certain that we have the optimal impact on our community, United Way uses a volunteer-driven allocations process. The allocations process is the cornerstone of our United Way. It ensures fiscal and program accountability for all agencies receiving United Way funds while meeting the social services needs of our community. In the process, volunteers challenge each agency’s effectiveness at providing services, review the need for those services in the region, and analyze the impact of United Way funding in meeting those needs. The Review Panel composes of 20-25 volunteers from throughout the community representing diversity in experience, gender, race, and age.

Given the many needs that exist in our community, the Review Panel faces the challenge of recommending United Way funds in a way that will have the most impact on community problems.  After carefully considering the priority needs of the community, the Review Panel makes recommendation about agency funding to the United Way Board of Directors. This process allows community input into how decisions are made for agencies in the Southeast Missouri area. A network of checks and balances is created by the continuous monitoring of the agencies receiving funding so that the United Way can be accountable for donor contributions and funding decisions.

For information  about our 2015 Allocations Announcements, please click here.

If you are interested in being part of the Allocations Review Panel, call the office at 573-334-9634 or email me at