Arrowhead United Way Sets New Path for the Future
Arrowhead United Way (AUW) is continuing to refresh its purpose and mission, making it more relevant to today’s problems. Acknowledging that times are different, the United Way board has updated funding priorities and focus areas over the past few years. After evaluating local needs, AUW is focusing on education, income and health, because these are the building blocks for a good quality of life.
In the area of education, Debbie Barrera, AUW board chair, states that the organization is very excited about its new efforts around early grade reading. Joining in United Way of America’s national goal of cutting the high school dropout rate in half in the next decade, AUW’s efforts will focus on ensuring children are reading proficiently at grade level by third grade. Of the 1250 United Ways nationally, AUW was one of 14 selected to participate in the Performance Excellence Group for Early Grade Reading.
The confluence of several issues coming together, including the new focus areas, the challenging economy, demands of corporate donors, plus accountability and other requirements placed on partner agencies, has resulted in tough budget and funding decisions for the United Way’s volunteers. Cyndi Barnett, Chair of the AUW’s Volunteer Community Impact Cabinet that oversees the volunteer councils that make funding decisions, states that it was not easy to make the funding decisions and that some agencies may see a decrease in funding.
United Way has always been known for its vetting of agencies eligible for funding, and in the past few years has added the requirement that agencies report the results of their funded programs in the form of outcomes. Agencies not meeting application and reporting requirements receive less funding. Reviewing agency applications, doing site visits and issuing penalties for not meeting requirements are all part of the strategy to build agency accountability and capacity.
Nonprofit organizations in the Inland Empire receive far less funding from out-of-area Foundations and other funders than nonprofits located in all other parts of the state. AUW’s goal is to increase the capacity of nonprofit organizations to assist them when they apply for grants from Foundations and other sources.
As part of its efforts to diversify its strategies to remain relevant, AUW has formed both the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) and the Young Leadership Council (YLC). The WLC’s mission is to improve the lives of young women through education, financial stability, and a healthy lifestyle. The WLC brings the vision, energy, talent, creativity, resources, and drive to improve lives in our community and bring lasting change.
The Young Leadership Council (YLC), formed in May of 2010, consists of young professionals between the ages of 21 and 40. Its mission is to be actively engaged in the community and inspire philanthropy and volunteerism by collaboratively partnering with the next generation of decision-makers in a unique blend of service, education, and social and networking activities throughout the year.
AUW continues to identify new ways of engaging the community. AUW recruits the people and organizations from all across the community who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. We invite you to be a part of the change. You can give, you can advocate, and you can volunteer to help improve the lives of others locally.