Community-wide investments totaling $8.8 million

Community-wide investments totaling $8.8 million
January 28
00:00 2016

Special to The Chronicle

United Way of Forsyth County has awarded $8,821,257 to social service organizations in Forsyth County as part of the 2016-2017 community-wide investment cycle, which runs from July 2016 to June 2017.

As in the past, the focus of the funded programs is on United Way’s priority impact areas: health, education, financial stability and basic needs. This year, however, strategic shifts were made to United Way’s investments to achieve greater impact.

Sallye Liner, United Way Board Chair, says “We have a history of funding good programs with long-term partners and have seen positive results in the lives of individuals and families. At the same time, the county’s poverty rate continues to rise, food insecurity is a growing concern, and health issues continue to escalate. United Way believes these challenges demand that we evolve from operating simply as a fundraiser and distributor of grants to specific partners, to focusing on developing and executing integrated and long-term solutions that address the root causes of our community’s challenges.

“Using this approach, we have seen success with increasing the community’s high school graduation rate and eliminating veteran homelessness. We have the opportunity to achieve similar results in the areas of health and financial stability, but that will require new, creative thinking by us and all of our partners – new and traditional.”

A three-year funding comparison is provided at

Strategic shifts made during this grant cycle include the following:

*Developing new population-level metrics for health and financial stability, in addition to those that exist for education. *Encouraging potential partners to work together to create and propose comprehensive, integrated programs to address our community’s needs – recognizing that an individual’s or family’s issues are interconnected and that such solutions will better address their needs. Partners were encouraged to submit as many proposals as they liked.

*Pursuing a place-based strategy (“Place Matters”) in thirteen neighborhoods in northeast Winston-Salem and working with residents to develop and implement a focused, integrated plan to strengthen their neighborhoods.

*Evaluating proposals in two separate funding cycles – the first for community-wide investments and the second for Place Matters specifically.

The 2016-2017 community-wide investments went to the programs and collaborations that have the potential to move the needle most quickly and sustainably with measureable effects. The programs selected align best with United Way’s defined priorities and show promise in achieving significant impact in the areas of health (21 percent of funds), education (31 percent of funds), financial stability (11 percent of funds) and basic needs (30 percent of funds). A transition fund of $450,000 has been established to help those partners who experienced a decrease in funding over 20 percent.

In addition to the funds granted as part of the community-wide investment process, another $2,841,314 has been reserved for United Way’s Place Matters initiative. Those grants will be announced in March 2016. Although the funding is being handled in two waves this year, the total amount being invested in the community is expected to remain the same. More specific detail on the programs funded as part of the community-wide investment process is available on United Way’s website at

“Where United Way invests the community’s dollars is never an easy decision and, unfortunately, the need always outpaces the available resources. Investments are targeted to the programs that promise the best results on the issues that are most pressing for our residents,” says Cindy Gordineer, president and CEO of United Way of Forsyth County.

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