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United Way announces allocations

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
March 25, 2010 at 7:02 p.m.
Updated March 25, 2010 at 10:26 p.m.

Teresa Bertin, left, gets a little help with her reading from a student tutor, Rocio Garcia, at the Boys and Girls Club on Thursday afternoon. The Boys and Girls Club will receive $59,000 from United Way this year. That's seven percent more than last year.

Julie Flessner beamed when she got the news that Hope of South Texas would receive the $40,000 it requested from the Victoria County United Way.

"I am very pleased," Flessner said. "This will allow us to keep the doors open on the children's advocacy center, the program we sought funding for."

Flessner explained that the money will be used for a 50 percent cash match to fund the center that offers case management for child victims of sexual abuse, among other services.

On Thursday, The United Way announced the awarding of $628,834 in grants to 19 local nonprofit agencies, the same amount it doled in 2009.

Clifford Grimes, United Way executive director, said the agency revised its grant request application to be more program focused.

"One of the things we wanted to do this year was to provide donors with more information on how their gift was being used," he said. "We wanted the nonprofits we fund to provide data on specific programs rather than us providing financial support to the general operating fund."

The United Way divided investment opportunities into three strategic goals. These included:

Education - helping individuals achieve their potential.

Income - helping families to become stable and independent.

Health - improving people's health.

"We want to be able to show results and impact," Grimes said.

The community investment, or allocation, process includes training with the nonprofit agencies to ensure they know what the United Way looks for in a grant request. On-site visits to the nonprofit agencies are also conducted. Volunteers then review the grants and listen to presentations from each agency.

Agencies asked for $858,279 in funding, so not every agency received what it requested.

The Community Action Committee did not receive the $4,119 it requested to purchase capital items, for example. It received $11,000 last year.

Affectionate Arms Adult Day Health Care Center and Habitat for Humanity - two agencies that did not request funds in 2009 - were also denied funds this year.

The Food Bank of the Golden Crescent endures a 20 percent decrease, about $2,000 less than 2009, due to its request to fund capital items, Grimes explained.

"It's not life shattering," said Dennis Brown, executive director of the Food Bank. "We will put the $18,000 we did get to good use and try to make up the difference in other ways."

The Victoria County Senior Citizens Center received the same amount of money as it did in 2009 - $63,000.

"I am pleased and appreciative," said Debbie Garner, the center's executive director. "It's not as much as we requested, but it's perfect. I was afraid we were going to get less. I'm happy."

Also pleased is Marc Vendl of the Boys & Girls Club of Victoria.

The club received $59,000, or a 7 percent increase from 2009.

"We are working our way back from a cut a few years ago," Vendl said. "This will enable us to continue our after-school programs."

Gary Worsham of Wells Fargo Bank chaired the Community Investment Committee.

"The needs in our community are great and the challenges are many," he said. "The good news is clear: Through these grants we are assisting thousands of individuals who need help."

Grimes, who took over as United Way executive director in June 2009, reflected on his first campaign in Victoria County.

"This is a fantastic community. People want to help one another," Grimes said. "That's important when dealing with immense problems like homelessness, family violence or dropouts. This is a great place to be and a great time to make a difference. That's what we want to do."



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