United Way graphic

United Way of Tarrant County Sept. 3 announced more than $10 million in funding for 2019-2020.

That included almost $5 million allocated to address social issues identified in the organization’s recent Community Assessment: basic needs and financial stability; education/workforce; mental, emotional and physical health; affordable housing/homelessness; and transportation, United Way said in a news release.

“The 2018-2019 Community Assessment provided us with a clear directive of where funding is needed in Tarrant County and how the community expects us to allocate resources,” said TD Smyers, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “Our investment in the community, on behalf of our donors, reflects that directive while continuing to provide funding for Safety Net and other key initiatives, including Systems Change and funding for veterans.”

The organization said that community, corporate, government and foundation donations to United Way of Tarrant County make it possible for the organization to invest resources toward the community’s most pressing social issues.

Community investments include nearly $6 million toward donor-designated gifts; $2.2 million for Safety Net, which is a network of services offered to the community through the United Way of Tarrant County system of partners; and $1.6 million for Scalable Community Change, which funds programs targeted at communities rather than individuals.

In addition, United Way of Tarrant County allocated more than $355,000 for Systems Change funding, which focuses on the root cause of social issues, more than $370,000 in funding through the Veterans Fund, which supports military service members and their families, and more than $48,000 to Women United programs, which are focused on women and girls.

“We want to recognize our Community Investment Committees, a team of volunteers who review each request for funding carefully, for their thoughtful recommendations on where funding should be directed,” Leah King, Chief Operating Office for United Way of Tarrant County, said in the news release.

“Their professional expertise and experience are vital to ensuring United Way’s community investments are directed toward organizations best positioned to address issues outlined in the Community Assessment and deliver the desired results,” King said.

United Way of Tarrant County’s 2019-2020 allocations:

Donor-Designated Gifts: Directed nearly $6 million to United Way partner agencies based on designations from individual donors to the charities of their choosing. Donor-designated gifts are not subject to processing fees, with 100 percent of the donation going to the selected agency or cause.

Safety Net: Safety Net is a $2.2 million program encompassing a network of services offered to the community through the United Way of Tarrant County system of partner agencies. This funding provides direct support to those temporarily in need and remains the foundation upon which the United Way of Tarrant County was formed in 1922.

Scalable Community Change: Awarded $1.6 million, Scalable Community Change funds programs targeted at replication and expansion of evidence-based models to bring widespread, positive change to specific social problems across Tarrant County.

Systems Change: An almost $1.4 million initiative in its first two years, Systems Change allocates a portion of funding to focus on the root causes of social issues and put universal solutions into motion for ongoing problems that impact large populations. Coalitions, task forces and strategic partnerships were invited to submit a proposal for funding to support collective action resulting in systemic change.

The grants awarded for Year 2 are:

Workforce Enhancements in Healthy Aging and Independent Living – $88,409 (Year 1: $151,162) for improving integration and coordination of services for persons with dementia and their caregivers via training for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders screening and for policy changes and data sharing.

Early Learning Alliance – $36,000 (Year 1: $60,000) for collaborative early learning efforts focused on racial equity training, early childhood data and school-readiness research.

Healthy Tarrant County Collaboration – $123,300 (Year 1: $205,500) for a systemic approach to expanding healthy food access by eliminating food deserts in targeted Fort Worth neighborhoods via a Healthy Corner Store retail program, asset mapping, mobile fresh markets, community gardens and public awareness.

Regional Superintendent Literacy Initiative – $108,000 (Year 1: $180,000) to expand Lone Star Literacy Institute’s professional development targeted at improving literacy among students and retention rates among new teachers for middle and high school grade levels, as well as new district partners.

Veterans Fund: Launched in 2013, the United Way of Tarrant County Veterans Fund was conceptualized and established by Lockheed Martin, which has continually provided the majority of funding each year. The 2019-2020 allocation amount of $370,000 was made possible by contributions from Lockheed Martin, Bell and individual donors.

Eight grantees were awarded funds to support military service members and their families who are returning to civilian life in the Tarrant County area. The services funded through the Veterans Fund include counseling, career and financial coaching, addiction treatment and other high-priority needs.

The grantees are:

• Recovery Resource Council – $100,000 for evidence-based mental health services to veterans and family members. Program services are designed to address the identified needs such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, negative coping skills and interpersonal relationships.

• 22Kill – $30,000 to assist in funding a full-time master’s-level child and adolescent counselor who will provide treatment to children and adolescent family members of veterans who are dealing with the challenges associated with military life.

• CLC Inc. – $75,000 to provide training and employment services to veterans and their families, including female and hard-to-reach veterans. Participants work with employment specialists to create individualized plans and undergo training and placement activities that lead to employment.

• Tarrant County Veterans Treatment Court – $50,000 for an alternative program for veterans returning from combat who face prosecution for nonviolent offenses. The program locates veterans, assesses their needs and diverts them to supervised, intensive treatment. Upon successful completion of the program, veterans’ records are expunged.

• Pathfinders – $30,000 for employment and financial coaching and for peer-to-peer mentoring. By providing a stable support system of staff, coaches, mentors and other veterans, the program addresses veterans’ needs for positive associations and peer-to-peer relationships during their transition back to civilian life.

• Wholy Works CDC – $10,000 to assist in funding the women’s veterans program. The program will focus on outreach and peer support as an exploratory focus group at the grassroots level. The program will highlight the importance of building trust through peer group communication and positive relationship behavior.

• Marriage Management – $15,000 for marriage management classes with a peer-to-peer approach. The mission is to have participants model tools that strengthen relational and emotional integration skills to minimize returning veterans’ marriages becoming a hidden casualty of war.

• Tarrant County Homeless Coalition – $60,000 for a veteran services coordinator who will coordinate services through the homeless services system of care. Veterans and the agencies that directly serve them will be provided support and coordination, ensuring each veteran who experiences homelessness receives services tailored to his or her unique needs and builds on his or her individual assets and strengths.

Women’s Fund: This fund was established by Women United, a United Way of Tarrant County Donor Network, focused on igniting the power of women. This fund awarded nearly $48,000 this year to four targeted projects:

• Fort Worth ISD’s Young Women’s Leadership Academy – $15,000 for gap stipends to alleviate the unmet financial needs of young female students attending college.

• The Women’s Center – $15,000 for career development scholarships for women interested in pursuing careers in high-demand fields.

• Tarrant County College Foundation – $12,000 for two-year stipends to low-income mothers who are seeking to better their lives through earning an associate degree, a certificate of completion or requisite job training at Tarrant County College.

• Camp Fire First Texas – $5,393 for scholarships for women who are pursuing a Child Development Associate credential.

United Way of Tarrant County was founded in 1922 and annually helps more than 300,000 people through its resources. United Way of Tarrant County has no fees on donor designations, with 100 percent of the donations going to the selected agency or cause.

– FWBP Staff

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