Middlesex United Way donations support community in many ways

MIDDLETOWN — Do you have questions about the Middlesex United Way? Whether it is questions about where the funds are spent, or who is deciding who spends them, I’d love to take some time today to answer a few.
I am sure many will still have questions or want to learn more, so I encourage everyone to check out our website at MiddlesexUnitedWay.org. There you can find resources related to COVID-19, Racial Equity and Inclusion, our impact throughout Middlesex County, volunteer opportunities, and our in-depth FAQ page.
What is the Middlesex United Way?
Middlesex United Way is a locally based, volunteer-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening lives, helping people, and improving community conditions in the 15 towns in Middlesex County. United Way partners with local agencies and town organizations to provide these needed services and programs and find solutions to chronic community problems, like substance abuse among youth and the need for affordable, decent housing for low-income families.
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Our focus areas and goals reflect the priority concerns of our residents and top human care needs of our county. They are: education (helping to ensure students succeed academically); financial stability (making sure individuals and families are economically stable); health (ensuring individuals and families are healthy and safe, and youth and adults avoid risky behaviors); housing (being sure they have safe and affordable housing); and racial equity and inclusion (making certain they live in an antiracist, equitable and inclusive community).
The Middlesex United Way assembled teams of volunteers, including town officials, concerned residents, service providers, community leaders and experts, to focus on chronic community problems that present ongoing challenges for our residents. Their recommendations shape our work and inform our funding priorities.
To tackle these problems effectively, we have to address the root causes and invest in long-term solutions that can improve community conditions, and prevent problems from happening in the first place. That means investing in prevention-based programs that serve a larger population than those identified as needing assistance, as well as providing basic needs assistance to those facing the most immediate challenges.
Where does money that is raised go?
Your gift to Middlesex United Way stays in Middlesex County, unless you designate it elsewhere. The agency is one of the largest nongovernmental funder of local community programs and services in the county. United Way dollars are targeted to meet critical community needs in the county not funded by other sources.
Who decides how to spend the dollars raised?
Volunteers make all United Way funding decisions. Each year, all services, programs and town-based projects currently funded by United Way are reviewed by volunteers, experienced in analyzing budgets, program efficiency and effectiveness. Organizations that are seeking funds present written proposals to the United Way and the volunteer teams. Funding decisions are based on dollars available, community need, and the ability of the applicant to meet that need.
What is Middlesex United Way’s relationship to other United Ways?
Each local United Way is an independent 501(c) (3), separately incorporated and governed by a local, volunteer board of directors.
I hope I have answered some of your questions and helped explain who we are as an organization. Our values are collaboration, compassion, informed, transparency, inclusivity, integrity, stewardship, and we try to lead by example daily. To learn more about our work or see other frequently asked questions, visit MiddlesexUnitedWay.org/FAQ.
Kevin Wilhelm is president and CEO of the Middlesex United Way in Middletown.