FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) United Way of Tanana Valley (UWTV) is holding an application period for agencies wishing to benefit from its Community Care Fund until March 31, 2020. According to the UWTV website, the fund “ensures that donations reach the agencies who are providing the most essential services to our community.”
This marks the first instance in several years that UWTV has extended an invitation to agencies it is not currently partnered with. “We know that there are different needs in the community that have arisen in the last decade or so,” says Brenda Riley, Executive Director of UWTV. She mentions Fairbanks’ aging population, the opioid epidemic, and the normalization of mental health services as reasons why they are opening the fund to new potential agencies.
All applicants must strictly adhere to a list of requirements stipulated in a 4-page document by UWTV. Agencies must deliver “substantial human services to residents of the Tanana Valley”, and additional criteria are set forth regarding the nature of the agencies, as well as standards of administration, and requirements for participation with United Way, among others.
Applicants are vetted by a committee of volunteers and UWTV board members. Those who are accepted as partner agencies are awarded a percentage of the total funds raised based on a set of criteria including size of community served, and need, among others.
This fiscal year, UWTV is attempting to raise $907,000. “That’s a nod to the greatness of our state of Alaska,” says Riley.
The Community Care Fund provides unrestricted funding to the agencies which benefit from it. This differentiates it from many of the typical grants nonprofits receive. “You can write a grant for fifty thousand dollars; chances are really good every single penny has strings on it, and you can’t spend it for things that some might consider overhead but they’re imperative for conducting business,” Riley says.
She goes on. “Without electricity, we can’t run our computers and answer emails and do the work that we need to do, but you can’t write a grant to pay for electricity, nobody wants to pay for that. It’s overhead. So the strength of the United Way’s Community Care Fund is that we thoroughly vet partner agencies, we make sure you’re providing the services that are within our funding priorities, that your governance is solid, that your finances are solid, diversity in funding, and then that monthly allocation from the Community Care Fund is unrestricted.”
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