For our 2019-2022 funding cycle, we have increased our number from previously supporting 24 partners and 34 programs to investing in 27 partners and 38 programs. These people and agencies provide services that join United Way’s fight for the health, education and financial stability of everyone in the communities we serve. United Way of Southeast Missouri serves the counties of Cape Girardeau, Bollinger, Perry, and northern Scott.
These partners and programs and the amount of United Way funding they will receive are determined by volunteers who represent our 4 counties, our three focus areas, our workplaces, and our donors. About 60-70 volunteers helped review more than 50 applications, conducted site visits, and listened to presentations. Then our Community Investment Committee had passionate discussion to determine where our donors’ dollars will have the greatest impact and provide recommendations to our board of directors.
We are grateful for the commitment of these volunteers, not only for the help they give to our community, but for the very fact they alleviate my team and me from having to make these very difficult decisions. We truly wish we could give every worthwhile program every dollar they need to help the people of Southeast Missouri. But the requests for funding were twice the amount of funding we have.
Although United Way is a global organization, these decisions and these programs are local. They are based on where our donors’ gifts can do the greatest good right here in Southeast Missouri. It is important to remember that thanks to corporate investors, including Procter & Gamble, Mondi, Ameren Missouri and many more, 99 cents of every dollar given by individuals to United Way of Southeast Missouri stays right here and goes directly to programs and services that strengthen our community.
United Way has a long history of giving help and hope. Many of the programs we support help people in dire situations. But the real power of the United Way network occurs when this collective group of partners tackles the issues that create the need in the first place. Rarely does one problem put a family in need of help, and rarely can just one organization return that family to stability and self-sufficiency. The collective power of the United Way network is what changes lives.
An example of this is with our education initiative. Ten years ago United Way of Southeast Missouri led an education coalition to address the graduation rate at our largest public high school. Through collaborative efforts of many community partners, the graduation rate has moved more than 20% points in the last decade and is on par with the rest of the state nearing 90%.
We will continue our focus on education by investing in previous partners with after-school tutoring at Cape Girardeau Public Schools and early literacy through Read to Succeed in Cape and Scott City. We will welcome our new partner in education, Meadow Heights Elementary, where we will support a backpack program like the one we invest in at Perry County Public Schools. Last year United Way invested in Emergency Student Funds in 15 public schools across our region to help students with glasses, prescriptions, dental work, and other obstacles to learning.
We bolster our education focus through mentoring programs with returning partners: the Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and 4H, while welcoming EPIC Pals, which uses puppy dogs to teach behavior modification, and Tiger Lilies, a program that helps young girls blossom into young ladies.
In this three-year cycle we have increased our commitment to health, continuing to invest in the Jackson Senior Center, where we help provide meals to help senior citizens remain independent. And we welcome new partner, the Oral Health Coalition that delivers critical dental care to all ages.
Our Income focus continues to support previous partners helping those who struggle to make ends meet, through First Call for Help, the Community Partnership, and The Salvation Army. But for the next 3 years our Community Investment Committee also allocated more dollars to help our neighbors become and remain financially independent by investing in the Semo Alliance for Disability Independence, SADI, and One City, which returns individuals to the work force who have been unemployed for periods ranging from 6 months to 10 years.
In Perryville we are proud to partner with the New Life Mission Inn Warming Center. Their approach really appealed to our Community Investment Committee, because the warming shelter they provide comes with counseling to address the factors that created the need for temporary shelter in the first place.
These are just a few of the many programs we are proud to partner with for the next three years, but ALL of them are required to return Outcomes. Each year our funded partners provide progress reports to our Community Investment Committee to ensure the money is going where it is intended and that it is making a difference. We just received outcomes for the past year, and we look forward to sharing data and success stories of the people our network has helped and the lives we have changed.
You can find a complete list of Returning and New Funded Partners here.