United Way commits funds to 53 programs
CHAMPAIGN — More than 50 programs run by dozens of local nonprofit agencies have received a two-year funding commitment from the United Way of Champaign County.
Those programs include such community services as Meals on Wheels, employment help for the developmentally disabled, child and family support, community-based mentoring, counseling for seniors and dozens more.
The United Way's 12-month fundraising campaign kicked off July 1, 2013, and is set to end June 30.
The $3.4 million goal for the 2013-14 campaign was met early in the year, with $3.6 million raised to date, according to United Way President Sue Grey.
"We are just so grateful," Grey said. "I just can't say that enough."
The 53 Champaign County programs will share in $1.4 million over the next 12 months, starting July 1, with their second year's funding starting July 1, 2015, contingent on what is raised in the next campaign that will begin as soon as the current one closes, Grey said.
The rest of the money raised over the past year was either designated by donors for specific causes or for other projects, including Gifford tornado relief, child abuse prevention and education, a family emergency shelter and the United Way's new 211 help information line initiative, Grey said.
The new 211 line is on track to answer nearly 1,600 calls for help in its first year, the agency says.
United Way funding for four programs of Family Service of Champaign County — Meals on Wheels, a senior counseling and advocacy program, transportation for seniors and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program — is essential, says Family Service Executive Director Sheryl Bautch.
"Without United Way support, some of the programs would not be possible, or they would have to be severely reduced," she said.
All programs applying for United Way funding completed a comprehensive grant review process led by nearly 100 volunteers who made the selections.
Grey said several new programs were added for the next two years, among them Prosperity Gardens community garden program in Champaign and Daily Bread Soup Kitchen's support services program.
Grey says the community's generosity has been amazing, but the United Way needs to continue to work to bring more dollars into its campaign.
Some of the big needs she and the agency's Director of Community Engagement, Mary Noel, see that United Way would like to address with additional money:
— More early childhood education opportunities to make all kids kindergarten-ready — not only academically, but prepared for school with social and emotional skills and in good health.
— Taking a look at the need for more mental health services in the local community.
— Addressing the lack of a detox unit in the local community for people with drug and alcohol addictions.
"That is critical," Grey said.
Agencies being funded
Fifty-three programs run by the following local agencies are being funded by the United Way of Champaign County:
American Red Cross
Champaign County CASA
Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County
Daily Bread Soup Kitchen
Eastern Illinois Foodbank
Family Advocacy Center
Family Service of Champaign County
Greater Community AIDS Project
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Boy Scouts of America, Praielands Council
Champaign County Regional Planning Commission
Champaign Unit 4 Schools
Champaign-Urbana Schools Foundation
Developmental Services Center
East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center
Girl Scouts of Central Illinois
Regional Office of Education
SOAR youth program
Center for Women in Transition
Urbana Adult Education
Urbana Neighborhood Connection Center
Cunningham Children's Home
Habitat for Humanity
Salt and Light
Center for Youth and Family Solutions
Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club
Rape, Advocacy, Counseling, Education and Services
Stephens Family YMCA