United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region will invest more than $1.4 million from its Community Fund during the next 12 months to address nine critical issues affecting residents in Dutchess and Orange Counties.
United Way, through its funding, will partner with 36 nonprofit organizations to focus resources in key issues in Education, Income and Health.
• Education - educating parents on their child’s development and providing tools to reinforce age-appropriate behavior, improving the quality of early learning centers across our region, and connecting children with mentors, tutors and enrichment programs to ensure grade-level achievement
• Income - helping individuals and families overcome financial crisis, improving financial literacy, reducing debt and increasing savings, and increasing annual income through tax programs and workplace advancement
• Health - creating access to nutritious foods and increasing opportunities for recreation to decrease obesity, and empowering youth with tools to promote healthy decision making and minimizing at-risk behaviors
United Way will continue to address basic needs through crisis intervention grants. In addition, its Women’s Leadership Council, formerly the Women’s Leadership Fund of Orange County, will fund programs that empower women and girls.
Areas of focus were developed through a comprehensive process led by the community impact committee. Funding priorities were determined by councils made up of business, government, nonprofit, and retired professionals for each of the three key areas of impact: Education, Income and Health. Through these groups United Way reviewed data, researched statistics, facilitated community forums and held discussions with the nonprofit community to fully understand the scope of needs. It also led discussions with experts, community members and professionals to understand the complexity and challenges faced by people actively participating in these areas.
“Over the past year we are proud to have engaged more than 100 volunteers representing various sectors of the community to learn about significant issues facing Dutchess and Orange Counties and to identify ways that we can work together to find solutions,” said Don Hammond, United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region President and CEO.
United Way’s approach to collaborative funding will align agencies across the region within specific priority areas. For example, domestic violence programs in Orange and Dutchess counties will be implementing a shared program, Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP), which empowers students at the junior high, high school and college levels to take an active stance against bullying and violence. Grace Smith House will be funded as the lead agency across the region and will sub-grant to Safe Homes Orange County and Family Services. Using this process, Grace Smith House will service the Junior High and High Schools in Dutchess and Family Services will service the colleges. Safe Homes will pilot in Orange County.
The implementation of this shared model “will have lots of benefits: shared experiences, shared reporting, shared resources, rapid implementation and the emergence of best practices,” said Hamali Ghandi, Youth Education Outreach Coordinator of Grace Smith House.
A full list of United Way’s community partners can be found here.