United Way of Southwest Alabama’s (UWSWA) Board of Trustees recently approved investing more than $2.18M annually in 2016 and 2017 to support local programs and services that address key issues in the areas of health, education, financial stability, and essentials, according to a press release.

The process starts with local nonprofit health and human service organizations applying to become United Way Partner Agencies; partners may then apply for program funding. According to the press release, the process is designed to target and address major health and human service issues facing our region by funding programs that prove they are making a positive impact in our community.

Program investments are based on the recommendation of knowledgeable volunteers and experts in the three counties that participated in UWSWA’s 2014 fundraising campaign: Clarke, Mobile, and Washington. More than 60 volunteers participated in the application and agency review process. The volunteers’ recommendations were then submitted to the UWSWA Board of Trustees, which voted on April 23 to approve the program funding recommendations.

“By investing in programs that are effectively advancing the common good in the areas of our building blocks, we can be sure to make a positive impact in the lives of thousands right here in Southwest Alabama,” said UWSWA President and CEO Alan H. Turner II. “Decisions about which programs to invest in are made by trained volunteers who live and work in the counties we serve. By involving community volunteers who recognize and understand the needs of their communities, UWSWA is guaranteeing that our mission to improve the quality of life in the community is fulfilled to the greatest measure.”

During 2016 and again in 2017, UWSWA will be investing in 101 programs, run by 44 Partner Agencies. Within Clarke, Mobile, and Washington counties, $634,500.00 will be invested in education, $669,707.73 in health, $175,500.00 in financial stability, and $701,016.68 in essentials.

In addition to the funds that are allocated through the Community Impact process, UWSWA invests in and its donors designate approximately $2.5M each year to local programs, services, and Partner Agencies throughout Southwest Alabama. Some of those programs that receive funding include: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, United Way 2-1-1, United Way Volunteer Connect, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, and the Washington County Dental and Vision Care Program.

The application process this year was very competitive, with UWSWA receiving more than $4.5M in requests while having $2.18M to invest annually. For a list of programs funded, please visit UWSWA’s website at www.uwswa.org.