Responsible for evaluating United Way funded programs that are available to Oswego County, members of the Community Investment Committee play a key role in the United Way’s funding process. It’s a unique opportunity to learn more about United Way member agencies and have input regarding critical decisions on how the money raised during the United Way’s Annual Campaign will be distributed to the county’s human services providers.
“It is of the utmost importance that the community is involved in this process, said United Way Executive Director Patrick Dewine. “Our Community Investment Committee represents our citizen-givers and gives our donors a powerful voice as to where their contributions go and that those contributions will provide maximum results. United Way’s approach to funding human service programs is based on the belief that the interests of the people of Oswego County are best served when a unified process is used to make decisions about funding to those agencies that provide services.”
Volunteers serve on one of five panels, each of which deals with a specific field of service: Emergency Services, Children and Family Services, Health and Special Needs, Senior Services, and Youth Development. Panel members will visit agencies that offer programs related to their specific field of service where they will receive a tour of the agency. It’s a process that committee members find to be both enlightening and rewarding.
“Being a member of the United Way investment process has opened my eyes as to the on-going needs of our local communities and the important role that United Way plays in meeting those needs,” said National Grid Customer and Community Jurisdictional Manager, Walter Dengos. “It is clear that community involvement is a key component to helping United Way continue to provide funding to the many member agency programs that serve so many families and individuals throughout all of Oswego County.”
Longtime Community Investment Committee Member and Manager of the Central Square branch of Fulton Savings Bank Debra Braden also stressed the importance of community involvement.
“Input from community members is essential to the investment process,” said Braden. “Being a member of the Community Investment Committee allows individuals to gain a better understanding of the United Way funded services that are provided through United Way member agencies. They also see first-hand why United Way is the best steward of our community’s charitable dollars. United Way leaders, along with the Community Investment Committee carefully assess our county’s needs and ensure that every dollar given to United Way is invested where it can do the most good.”
While the United Way’s program funding process does not begin until April, the United Way is currently recruiting volunteers now so that the Community Investment Committee and the individual panels can be established and the volunteers can receive the training they need.
Members are asked to invest approximately 15 hours of their time as they meet in April for training and then conduct agency tours and budget reviews throughout May. Volunteers learn about the many human services programs available in Oswego County and work together to make informed decisions, knowing that their input is important to the process.
“We are proud of our program funding process and very appreciative of the concerned community members who volunteer their time and talents to serve on our Community Investment Committee and choose to make a difference in our community,” added Dewine.
For more information on the United Way’s program funding process, or to volunteer as an Allocations Committee member, you may contact your United Way office at 315-593-1900.