In the seven months I have had the humble honor of leading this amazing organization and the dedicated team behind it, those who are familiar with the intricate expanse of our work in the community have accurately asked if I felt as though I’ve been drinking from the fire hose. I believe the fire hydrant would have been more accurate. Now, seven months later, the flow of information has become more like a controlled hose. Any way you put it, the learning curve is gargantuan, and I am deeply grateful for the tremendous help I have received from my talented colleagues.
One thing I was able to quickly comprehend early on is the fiscal integrity of United Way of Southeast Missouri (UWSEMO). For the sake of my personal and professional integrity, I made it a point to research and verify information I believe is vital to share with those we ask to entrust us with their earnings.
UWSEMO holds accountable the agencies and programs we fund, a standard we apply to our organization, as well. Our partners must provide us with results and outcomes, which we evaluate to determine future investments and our own ROI. Without this information, funding is not guaranteed—for UWSEMO nor the programs and agencies we fund. We make public the amount of funding invested in our partners and invite anyone who is interested to participate in the allocations review process. (A complete list of our funded partners and information about each is on our website; we do not fund Beacon Health.)
We review our budget just as carefully and have implemented numerous checks and balances to ensure fiscal responsibility and demonstrate we are trustworthy stewards of community investments. Our budget is audited annually by professional accountants and reviewed quarterly by volunteers from the financial community. Two of our executives must sign off on every check and purchase order, which are then reviewed by yet another accounting firm. Any expenditures over $500 must be approved by our Executive Committee, comprised of corporate volunteers.
Our I-9 and audited financial statements are available for review by the public, and we encourage this by posting them on our website. Anyone wishing to see the detailed breakdown is welcome to visit our office.
As more and more organizations declare nonprofit status, request funding, and on rare occasions abuse the public trust, it is important to remember the longevity of United Way and the history of UWSEMO. Personnel, partner agencies, board members, measurements, and even goals may change. But for more than forty years, United Way of Southeast Missouri has served our region with honesty and integrity, and this will not change. Thank you for your support of United Way and the communities we serve.