Where your money goes

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Investment Process

Contributor: Susan Perri, Marketing and Communications Specialist at United Way Fox Cities

We often mark time by seasons. Football season is gearing up, the summer vacation season is starting to wind down, and, believe it or not, the holiday season is just around the corner. At United Way Fox Cities, we have our own seasons — for example, we just wrapped up our “investment season” and are quickly heading into our “campaign season.” You are probably familiar with our campaign season, but we think you might be interested to learn more about our investment season…it is why your money goes where it goes.

Our investment process happens every two years. Groups of volunteers are organized into four Impact Areas, becoming experts and determining funding within their focus. The areas are:

  • Developing Children and Youth
  • Promoting Health, Healing and Crisis Intervention
  • Providing Basic Needs and Self Sufficiency
  • Strengthening Families

Each Impact Area is made up of about 25 volunteers who, alongside our staff, decide where (most) of the money invested in United Way Fox Cities goes. You can view a list of our volunteers who work on this process on page 12 of our Annual Report recognition book. The rest of your donation is invested in grants, research, initiatives, and other good work happening in the Fox Cities throughout the year.

Impact Area volunteers spend a cumulative 1,200+ hours (the equivalent of 50 days!) reviewing requests for funding from nonprofit organizations. It is a gargantuan task driven by voices from across the community and local research revealing areas of greatest need. As a result of this process, from 2018–2020, we have committed to fund 92 programs in 40 nonprofit partner agencies — dependent on successful campaign seasons, of course.

We asked Mary Leupold, a dedicated volunteer on the Children and Youth Impact Area, about her experience. She said, “While at first I did not fully realize the large scope of work that would come with the investment process, what I can say is that is has been very rewarding and eye-opening to learn more about the many community organizations that exist and the purpose that they each serve.

"As a volunteer for United Way, it is our privilege and duty to ensure the monies that we award serve the needs of the community and honor the investments from the many individuals and organizations that entrust United Way with their gifts.”

Thank you to our many volunteers and to those who trust us to invest wisely in our community. If you are interested in volunteering on an Impact Area, contact our office at 920-954-7210.