United Way of North Central Ohio Announces Funded Programs & Initiatives for Coming Year

2022 Grant Awards Emphasize Facilitating and Supporting Local Collaborative Efforts

United Way of North Central Ohio’s Executive Director Amber Wertman (right) and Marion Housing Coalition representative Evelyn Warr-Omness (left) review United Way’s Partner Agreement for the new funding cycle.

United Way of North Central Ohio has notified 35 local nonprofit organizations and coalitions that their community impact programs will receive funding from the UWNCO Community Campaign in the current fiscal year. These grants were awarded following application review and scoring by UWNCO’s volunteer Community Impact Cabinet and a final allocation decision by the UWNCO board of directors.

Each of the programs receiving grant funds this cycle has demonstrated how their work is impacting one or more of United Way’s three Bold Goals for community improvement: Successful Children, Healthy Families, and Self-Sufficient Residents. Learn more about Bold Goals for north central Ohio at unitedwaynco.org.

As part of their commitment to RBA (Results-Based Accountability) and collective impact as the framework for their work in the community, United Way of North Central Ohio placed new emphasis on collaboration during this application and funding cycle. Community collaborations of two or more organizations or entities working together to impact a Bold Goal for the region were given special consideration during the application review process, and four of the newly funded impact programs are collaborative efforts. Marion County Childcare Coalition, Marion Housing Coalition, Marion County Transportation Coalition, and Marion Area Employer Resource Network are each formed through partnerships between established nonprofits, some with support from local government entities, who are sharing time, talent, and resources to tackle large scale community problems across traditional agency borders.

“Our emphasis on collaborations grows out of our use of RBA and collective impact. We want to be certain we are getting the greatest possible return on investment, of both our donors’ dollars and of effort,” said Amber Wertman, executive director of United Way of North Central Ohio. “Bringing agencies together to share data and to come at big issues with a coordinated long-term plan will have a much greater impact on our community.”

Collaborations funded through United Way of North Central Ohio agree to meet five accepted conditions of collective impact, including appointing a backbone organization to convene and coordinate the work of the collaboration; establishing consistent and open communication; and mutual understanding of the problem being addressed and the change needed, as well as a shared system of collecting data and measuring results from their efforts. United Way of North Central Ohio provides continual facilitation and support services throughout the collaborative funding cycle.

Now in its second year as a United Way-funded collaboration, Marion Housing Coalition is executing a plan of action that includes neighborhood revitalization through blight removal and rehabilitation, removing barriers to affordable housing access, and collaboration with housing associations to improve quality of life. Evelyn Warr-Omness of the Marion County Land Bank, backbone organization for the Housing Coalition, said, “Working collaboratively as the Coalition with groups like Habitat for Humanity, Legal Aid, and Marion Public Health has widened the focus for all of us. While we might each have been working separately on one layer of the housing crisis, as a coalition we are addressing multiple issues affecting all layers of access to housing and the health of our neighborhoods – for the entire community, for distinct neighborhoods, and for individual households.”

Visit unitedwaynco.org to see a list of all the program and collaborations funded by donations to United Way of North Central Ohio’s Community Campaign.