The very generous contributions through the Barry County United Way “Give Today, Change Tomorrow” campaign allowed the Allocations Committee to grant requests from 31 programs for the next year. Cort Collison, chairperson of the Allocations Committee was pleased to present the recommendations to the Barry County United Way Board of Directors for final approval. The recommendations of the Allocations Committee were passed unanimously.
Twenty-Four community members broke into six panels to meet with agencies that requested funding. Any 501(c)3 agency was able to submit their application by the December 5th deadline. The allocations dollars distributed were based on their requests.
The Allocations Committee is made up of a diverse group of volunteers that represent all areas of Barry County. They are charged with funding agencies that meet the community impact agenda, the mission statement of United Way and strict financial requirements. “This is the hardest committee we ask people to serve on,” says Collison, “The agencies all provide a great service to our community, deciding what level to fund them at is very difficult.” Twenty four programs requested funding ranging from $1,000.00 to $84,000.00.
The Community Impact areas and the amount funded are:
In the area of youth achieving their full potential, ten programs were funded. The Barry County 4H program will provide non-formal, hands-on educational programs for youth age 5 -19 in areas including life skills, leadership/citizenship, science, healthy living and many other programs with the $54,000.00 they have been allocated. The Backpack Program received $1,053.27 in designations. Income qualified children will be able to “shop” for school supplies and backpacks at this program that takes place the week before school resumes in September. Barry County Substance Abuse will receive $14,500.00 to deliver school-based substance abuse prevention programming services to students in school systems county wide. $9,000.00 will help Big Brothers Big Sisters provide mentoring services to children throughout Barry County. The allocation will allow BBBS to provide professional staff who will recruit high school and adult mentors, carefully screen, train and coach each in a one to one relationship with elementary and middle school youth who need additional support. DARE will receive partner agency status and an area designation of $394.21 to provide 10 weeks of DARE programming at 5 area schools. Leadership Youthquest has been awarded $11,000.00 for two camps for Barry County high school teens in two areas – Leadership and Diversity. The leadership camp helps youth reach their full potential through group team building cooperatives and initiatives, high adventure programming and personality style indicators. President Ford Boy Scout Council will utilize $5,000.00 to provide Barry County Scouts with materials to plan their year of scouting and recruit new scouts, camperships to those in need, adult leader training, accident and liability insurance and on-line tools for scout leaders. $8,400.00 has been awarded to Thornapple Parks and Recreation for safe, affordable and healthy recreational sports programs including baseball, softball and flag football to youth of the Thornapple Kellogg school district and surrounding communities. Toys for Barry County Kids received designations of $2,080.21. These dollars will be utilized to purchase Christmas gifts for income qualified children that fall through the cracks of other Christmas programs that operate throughout our community. The YMCA will utilize $76,000.00 to offer a plethora of programs and services in the areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. United Way funding allows the YMCA to offer all of the programs at a reduced rate thereby making them more affordable to the general community as well as scholarships on a sliding fee scale.
Supporting families to achieve well being and success had nine programs apply, those receiving allocations included: CASA will receive $5,500.00 to offset the expenses to recruit, screen, train and monitor 10 new volunteers as Court Appointed Special Advocates for children who have come into the foster care system in Barry County due to abuse and neglect and provide overall program support to the existing CASA volunteers. Day of Caring received designations of $1,071.85 towards volunteer projects and food to feed the volunteers. Eaton Clothing and Furniture will receive $975.00 to provide free transportation to and from their Charlotte location where children will be able to get new shoes, socks, underwear and personal care items to begin the school year. $7,500.00 will provide safe sleep environments and child safety information and education for parents who are unable to provide appropriate sleeping environment for their infant/toddler. Each referred/qualified family to the Family Support Center Crib program receives a pack n play, crib or toddler bed, mattress, two fitted sheets, and a tummy time quilt. Family Support Center with $30,000 allocated will provide a family education and service plan that will address supporting families to achieve well-being and success. These dollars enable FSC to provide a Family Worskshop Series, Pierre the Pelican Newsletter and new parents will receive the “Your Babies First Year” book as well as providing Kinship Support Services and have a Parent Educator on staff. Habitat for Humanity will use the allocated $15,000.00 to purchase building supplies to build homes for low income families. $8,500.00 has been allocated to Safe Harbor to continue to provide a lifeline to child abuse and neglect victim in Barry County. Safe Harbor conducts forensic interviews where children can disclose their stories of abuse and neglect in a child-friendly environment in coordination with the agencies needed to have the child only have to tell the situation once.
Helping seniors find support and maintain independence had three programs request funding. The Commission on Aging will receive funding for Meals on Wheels of $12,500.00. This service delivers nutritious, hot, cold and liquid meals to homebound Barry County residents age 60 and over. In Home Services will receive $6,500.00 to provide personal care, housekeeping and respite services to older adults with physical limitations caused by chronic disease, terminal illness and frailty. The American Red Cross transportation for seniors to critical medical and dental appointments including chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis and physical therapy will receive $7,200.00.
Addressing urgent need programs that received funding include: $21,000.00 to provide 24/7 information and referral through 211. American Red Cross Disaster Services will be reimbursed up to $5,000.00 for services provided to families who have had a structure fire in their home. Emergency Assistance was designated $1,407.34. These dollars will help families that may not qualify for help through other means. The Food Bank of South Central Michigan will use $13,409.00 to support their efforts in food procurement, food sourcing and freight/trucking. Last year they distributed 816,821 pounds of food to food pantries and Fresh Food Initiatives across our county. The Fresh Food Initiative provides food assistance to any one in need throughout the entire county. $5,652.50 will provide 22 weeks of this program. Green Gables Haven will utilize $67,000.00 to provide safe and secure emergency shelter for individuals in crisis situations arising from domestic violence. “We could not keep our doors open if not for this funding,” states Janie Bergeron, Executive Director. $41,000.00 was allocated to Manna’s Market to provide food, toiletries and baby pantry items to households falling below 160% of the poverty level. This program can be accessed once per month to those that qualify. $643.50 was designated for Project Homeless Connect and the Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Detector Program.
Thirty one out county not for profit 501(c)3 health and human service agencies were designated dollars by donors totaling $9,770.50. Fifteen in-county agencies that did not request funds were designated dollars by donors totaling $8,465.00.
Programs that are operated within the Barry County United Way are funded through grants and other types of donations include: Car Seat Education, Financial Mentoring, Continuum of Care – Homeless Prevention and Emergency Assistance including the MEAP Utility Assistance, VSP eyeglass voucher program, Veteran’s Affairs and The Volunteer Center.
If you would like further information on the programs and agencies funded by Barry County United Way, please call Lani Forbes at 269-945-4010 or visit our webpage at www.bcunitedway.wpengine.com.