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United Way supports high-quality programs

A recent News article regarding United Way program funding told only part of the story. While some programs did lose funding due to the expert outside evaluation all programs receive, we are proud to invest nearly $4 million in high-quality programs that meet some of our community’s most pressing needs.

We recently released a comprehensive Community Needs Assessment outlining critical ongoing and emerging community issues. This study was influential in many of our decisions and led to our investment in a number of programs that had not previously received United Way funding, due to those programs’ focus and results.

As stewards of our donors’ resources, United Way has a responsibility to invest in the highest-quality programs that make the greatest impact against our goals in education, income and health and wellness. We do so through an open, competitive process involving volunteers – most with expertise in the subject matter of the proposals they review.

Each application receives a numerical score that provides a basis for decision making and an objective framework against which to make difficult choices. Those programs not selected – whether or not they are currently funded – simply received scores below those of programs that did prevail in this highly competitive process. Every program is entitled to review its score and receive coaching on how to achieve even greater results in the future.

In a perfect world, United Way would be able to invest in every worthy program that improves quality of life in Erie County. In an environment of limited resources and changing community needs, we must make difficult decisions to maximize the impact of our donors’ contributions on the lives of people in need.

Steve Finch

Board Chairman, United Way

of Buffalo & Erie County