Middlesex United Way awards nonprofits for bettering the community

Every year, Middlesex United Way invites locally based not-for-profit agencies that provide health and human services to apply for agency funding. These agencies must provide assistance to the people of Middlesex County to be eligible. This comprehensive review process begins in the beginning of each year at our funding partner breakfast

Funding is provided to locally based nonprofits that meet identified community needs and priorities based on a community needs assessment. Organizations that apply must submit detailed financial statements, a certified audit, as well as information on the outcomes of programs and services to be provided.

They must also identify how their services would be impacted if they did not receive funding or were only partially funded, how they will use the funds for the proposed fiscal year, and what United Way goal is most consistent with their work.

All United Way funding decisions are made by volunteers who analyze budgets, program efficiency and effectiveness. Funding decisions are based on dollars available, community need, and on the ability of the applicant to meet that need. Each year, all services, programs, and town-based projects funded by United Way are also reviewed to these same standards.

Our community impact volunteers each serve on one of our community impact teams. Each team is aligned with one of our focus areas — education, income, health or housing — and each focus area has its own set of specific goals. These volunteers work directly alongside our nonprofit partners who provide services in these focus areas, as well as help us to identify and address other community needs consistent with the focus and work of their specific team.

Some responsibilities these teams have include reviewing grant proposals and conducting site visits as needed, developing funding recommendations, reviewing reports and evaluating partner effectiveness, reviewing and revising community-level goals and outcomes, identifying and researching community needs not being met by current partners, recommending how we can facilitate new initiatives to address identified community needs, and assisting with the identification of new resources (financial and nonfinancial) to support and advance our work.

Volunteers are now in the next step of this process as our community impact volunteers are reviewing agency applications and conducting site visits at the local agencies. These visits consist of reviewing the partner application with the agency, as well as answering any questions or concerns our partner or volunteer has.

Our education team is made up of Coleen Duffy, chairwoman; Terri DiPietro, Dawn Dubay, Dan Osborne, Jim Crawford, Kevin Reich, Duncan Olaechea and Ramona Burkey.

Our financial stability team is volunteers Mark Gonsalves, chairman; Caleb Carney, Brian Donahue and Tyler Renfro.

Our youth development team consists of Becky Finnerty, Bill Holder, Donna Marino and James Parmiter.

Our wellness team consists of Kara Sheftel, chairwoman; Patty Eick, Quentin Phipps, Ellen Kessner, Astrid Lebron, Joe Bouley and Emily Janice.

Our housing team is Heather Time-Scozzari, chairwoman; Bill DeMore, Bob Fusari, Calvin Price, Joan Youngs, Andy Rapp and Bob Westendorff.

Through this process, our goal is to ensure every generously donated dollar goes to a deserving cause. Over the past 24 years, Middlesex United Way has disbursed over $20 million to local partners in Middlesex County. Last year alone, over $730,000 was distributed to our local partners.

To learn more about the work we do, visit middlesexunitedway.org/faq or contact Ed Bonilla at 860-346-8695.

Kevin Wilhelm is president and CEO of the Middlesex United Way in Middletown.