United Way Annoucnes Community Impact Investments

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COLUMBIA - Missouri United Way announced its Community Impact Investments Friday morning at Jesse Hall.

Community Impact is a new program for the United Way to help at-risk youth to succeed in school and life through education, family support, healthy behavior and financial independence. United Way plans to coordinate its investments with these steps in order to protect families from crisis and support youth.

Community Impact Investments include a new business strategy that aims to solve problems by treating root causes and focusing on lasting change.

"In the past United Way has traditionally raised funds then give money to agencies and done background checks," said United Way Director Tim Rich. "The new model focuses on being able to measure whether or not we are changing the face of poverty. Frankly, when we get to where we are now, 21 percent of Columbians are living in poverty, one out of five."

The strategy was developed after United Way studied the community, data and donors. More than 550 people gave input about the program. Rich said they found that donors want more impact and that they will support agencies that develop measurable strategies to solve community problems. Data showed that 43 percent of Columbia public school children are in poverty.

United Way will be donating $3.2 million to agencies in Missouri. Organizations receiving money include Columbia Housing Authority, Powered by Moms, Columbia Montessori, Mid-Missouri Legal Services, Youth Empowerment Zone and University YMCA.

Click here to view a full list of organizations receiving funding and the Community Impact Report.