Participation in the United Way’s Community Investment Committee provides volunteers with a unique opportunity to learn more about their community and make critical decisions on how the money raised during the United Way’s Annual Campaign will be distributed to the county’s human services providers.
“The United Way addresses human service needs throughout Oswego County. It is of the utmost importance that the community is involved in this process. Having volunteers from a broad cross section of the community is beneficial as each brings different skills and perspectives to the process,” said Bill Crist, president of the United Way’s Board of Directors.
Volunteers will be asked to 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.
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.
As a custodian of community contributions, United Way ensures that those dollars are used in a cost efficient manner to fund effective, meaningful, unduplicated services. “We provide our Community Investment Committee volunteers with a thorough overview of the principles and polices that are a part of our program funding process. With those parameters in mind, their objective study and review of agency programs will help ensure that there will be an effective and well-balanced array of community services available in Oswego County,” said Executive Director of the United Way of Greater Oswego County Patrick Dewine.
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. They work together to make informed decisions, knowing that their input is important to the process. It is a process that takes little time, but produces big results and provides volunteers with a real sense of accomplishment that many have found very rewarding,” said Crist.
United Way Board of Directors member, Shawn Seale of Key Bank, who along with Debra Braden of Fulton Savings Bank is co-chairperson of the United Way’s Community Investment Committee and has previously served on the Children and Family Services panel, found his experience with the program funding process a worthwhile one.
“The work that the panels do is very effective in evaluating the various agency programs and assessing the impact that these programs have on those they serve, said Seale. “The program funding process is very important as it allows community members who have no ties with the agencies and / or programs to take an objective look at what the programs do and how they impact the community.
It also allows these same people the opportunity to see how United Way dollars are being used in our community and realize that the United Way ensures that their dollars are used wisely by holding its member agencies accountable and measuring their programs outcomes. While it can be difficult deciding what programs receive funding it is also very rewarding to be able to award agencies what they need monetarily to continue their programs.”
“We are proud of our program funding process and very appreciative of the concerned community members who volunteer their time 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.