COLUMBIA – The Heart of Missouri United Way announced Friday how they plan on spending the record high $3 million in fundraising from the 2016 campaign.
$484,000 will go directly to 10 local health agencies this year, a 6-percent increase from the previous health cycle, while the remaining funds continue to support the 24 partner agencies.
Health is one of four impact areas for the United Way’s three-year fundraising cycle, with education, financial stability and basic needs rotating over the next few years.
The 10 partnering health agencies are more than any previous year and $87,000 will go to opioid treatment for young adults in the first year. This is the second highest allocation, behind the Compass Health agency which provides on-site school-based behavioral health services.
Assistant Director of Community Impact Courtney Daviess said the goal for this cycle’s health care is to increase access to physical, mental and dental health care and help agencies slow substance abuse, tobacco use and teen pregnancy.
“The goal is to help people directly so that agencies providing those services have what they need to provide and grow those services for community members that need them,” Daviess said. “Healthy people actually spread throughout families. You’re supporting health of not only a community, but the health of families and continued health of families for years to come.”
Daviess said she feels the work of the Heart of Missouri United Way is vital to keeping many health agencies afloat.
“When services are not funded, when money is not raised, there are less services that we can fund. And when we cannot fund services using community dollars, then community members are not able to access things that they need,” Daviess said.
The increase in health services is possible due to record high support from donors and the community for the 2016-17 campaign.
“We would not be able to raise these dollars without the generosity and understanding of donors,” Daviess said. “It allowed us to increase health allocations, and is why we work collaboratively with local funders, to make sure we are filling gaps with funding so that services are able to be provided for whole programs even if it’s not something we can fund fully.”
The funding decisions for this health cycle were collaborative efforts with volunteers turning in 400 hours of service since January.
“An advisory council of community volunteers facilitated the health allocations process, and members used information from the Boone County Health Improvement Plan, collaborative meetings, comprehensive data and site visits to make decisions based on what’s identified as the most urgent community needs,” Daviess said.
Daviess said this provides a system of checks and balances that ensures they are maximizing the community effort.
“We’re having in-depth conversations with agencies, local funders and educated professionals constantly,” Daviess said. “We’re making sure when we talk about pressing needs, we all have the same understanding of what the most pressing needs are so that when we’re making decisions, we’re not missing anything.”
The other agencies and impact areas receive the remainder of the money and will receive new allocations when respective staggered cycles end in the coming years.
Daviess encourages all community members and businesses to get involved with the various United Way services and to visit uwheartmo.org for more information.