COLUMBIA - New numbers out Monday show the Heart of Missouri United Way is only at half of its fundraising goal for 2013. United Way is trying to raise $4 million for it's new Community Impact program.
The new Community Impact program at United Way will bring many changes in 2013, including a new partnership with Columbia Public Schools, or CPS. Since 2010, CPS and the City of Columbia have been looking at ways to eliminate the achievement gap by working with the STRIVE Network. This network brings together the entire community to work toward specific goals, like education.
This year, the United Way will co-fund the hiring of a new data analyst who will provide the City and United Way with data about performance levels of certain programs. This data allows the United Way to have a higher accountability standard, and decide which of the 35 strategies for 2013 are working.
CPS Community Relations Coordinator Michelle Baumstark said the addition of this position is beneficial for more than just CPS or United Way. "To achieve our goals, to eliminate these gaps, the entire community needs to work together. The school will have better information about our curriculum, non-profits can use the data to apply for grants, and United Way gets to really implement their new community impact program," said Baumstark.
Heart of Missouri United Way Director Tim Rich said starting in 2013, the organization is holding itself to higher accountability standards. "We're moving forward, we're looking at data, this is all new for United Way. We've selected 26 agencies and 35 strategies to fund for 2013, and we're not going to put the burden just on them, we're in a place now where we're accepting a lot of the responsibility for the performance of the United Way and our agencies," said Rich.
The Community Impact program sets specific goals, including improvements in education, income, and health. United Way looked for those goals when selecting strategies to fund agencies in 2013. Before Community Impact, agencies just applied for funding based on their entire organization. This year, agencies had to provide specific strategies that focused on one of three areas.
Heart of Missouri United Way made headlines in October when they announced the new changes. Ten agencies formerly funded by United Way will no longer receive funding in 2013. United Way announced that 8 new agencies would receive a total of $4 million in funding. The application process for United Way was overhauled, and all agencies were considered as first-time applicants under the new standards.
The 2013 budget is not finalized, and it has not been announced how much each agency is receiving.