The United Way of Rome/Floyd County transitioning to new Community Impact Model. Eight local organizations now being evaluated for 2020-21 grant funding.

The United Way of Rome/Floyd County transitioning to new Community Impact Model. Eight local organizations now being evaluated for 2020-21 grant funding.

Media release: As of 2019, there’s a new United Way in Rome & Floyd County. As has always been true, the local United Way is a completely independent, locally governed organization; the affiliation to United Way Worldwide is a membership, as with similar well known organizations like the Boys and Girls Club. Programs, decisions, and budget are all 100% local and independent to the Rome & Floyd County nonprofit. The organization has funded nonprofits across Floyd County for 65 years as a traditional umbrella-style fundraising organization and is now well underway in transitioning to a new model. Information about ongoing changes was made available earlier this year and is updated regularly.

The organization’s website provides information about the United Way’s current funded partners, as well as details about their policies and program direction. Current and ongoing changes to this information are shared through social media, which supports the organization’s commitment to transparency and quick, convenient access for the community.
Changes to the organization began last fall with a move toward new leadership. Planning, design, and implementation of a new model began in January, when the organization welcomed a new Executive Director, Alli Mitchell. Prior to 2019, the local United Way was a traditional model: one where the organization raises money from donors, primarily through workplace campaigns, and grants that funding to as many nonprofit organizations as possible. Rome’s United Way will now operate as a community impact model: a model which shifts the United Way focus from dollars raised to measurable community impact.

What this means is that United Way funding is now invested in substantial and meaningful ways that allow nonprofits to make a profound difference, as a part of a larger, collaborative strategy. Currently, funding goes to the general mission of nonprofit organizations as a percentage of their overall budget, which in many cases amounts to only 2-4% of their budget, and cannot be defined by actual impact.

The new funding structure focuses on specific programs proposed by local nonprofits that fit together collaboratively to take on challenges in Rome & Floyd County that no one agency’s mission can take on alone. The model supports the idea that nonprofits and communities are stronger when they are United in their efforts to address social challenges. It also makes clear the relationship with nonprofit partners by identifying exactly what programs and work United Way donor dollars support. This allows donors to understand how their support is helping their community and helps avoid confusion that the United Way is funding the full mission of its partners, a flaw of the traditional model that could potentially create unintended conflict. The Community Impact model positions the United Way to transparently and collaboratively partner with, support and promote the great work of its nonprofit partners.​

Investment in specific programs that are accountable to clear, publicly accessible measurable outcomes means United Way donors and the Rome/Floyd community will get community impact reports on the work accomplished through Community Impact Grant funding every six months. These reports include measures like the number of children who improved math grades, the number of families that established or grew savings, and the number of individuals who received emergency assistance or obtained safe housing. A full list of Impact Grant outcomes is available on the United Way website in the organization’s Request for Proposals, published in April of this year.

The United Way is committed to transparency, integrity, and to putting the best interests of the community first, always. It seeks to drive and foster innovative collaboration and create a supportive atmosphere for nonprofits to effectuate profound measurable change together, for the good of all. Current funding information is available on the United Way website.
As part of the new grant process, a team of community volunteers is currently evaluating applications for proposed programs from 8 completely local nonprofits that are doing amazing work in our community. Funding announcements for the 2020-21 grant cycle will be announced in December. Applicants include:
  • Boys and Girls Club
  • Summit Quest
  • Open Door Home
  • LivingProof Recovery
  • Rome-Floyd YMCA
  • Family Resource Center
  • Hospitality House
  • Davies Shelter

In addition to redesigning the Impact Grant process, the United Way is also working to create an online local resource guide; partnering to build an online local volunteer connection site for those seeking volunteers and those seeking to volunteer; offering comprehensive employee volunteer engagement experiences for business and corproate partners to help them fulfil citizenship goals and connect them our local community; and ramping up advocacy efforts to promote diversity and inclusion and fight trafficking and human slavery.

The United Way is excited to transition into a more relevant, responsive, community-minded organization that truly serves all in Rome & Floyd County. Their transition brings significant change, and the United Way acknowledges and appreciates the challenges change presents, even when necessary and in the best interest of the community. To grow and adapt, to ensure relevancy in a changing world and community with changing needs, and to increase capacity for the future, change is required, as is compassion for the impact of that change. The organization’s decisions have been made with compassion, appropriate gravity and with hope for and eyes toward a bright future and better lives for all in Rome & Floyd County.
From Hometown Headlines: Because of the new changes, some local organizations that have received funding from the United Way of Rome and Floyd County in the past will no longer receive those funds in 2020. Those organizations include the Salvation Army of Rome, the American Red Cross of Northwest Georgia, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of NW Georgia.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
  • You can read about local reaction from these organizations in a recent Rome News story.
  • One of the original announcements about the changes at United Way. Background
  • United Way of Rome-Floyd County’s Executive Director Alli Mitchell will be a guest on The Druck Report podcast posting early next week.
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