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Victoria United Way aids 19 agencies

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
March 30, 2011 at 7:02 p.m.
Updated March 29, 2011 at 10:30 p.m.

Cynthis Staley

When Cynthia Staley, executive director of Habitat for Humanity, Victoria, received word that her organization had been awarded a United Way grant, her initial reaction had to be a bit muted.

She was sitting in a workshop at a conference in Atlanta when she got the notification.

"All I could do was a double arm-pump," Staley said. "The person next to me asked what had happened - so I whispered to her. Talk about contained excitement."

The Victoria County United Way generated a lot of excitement in the nonprofit world Wednesday, announcing the awarding of $614,020 to 19 organizations, according to a news release from the agency.

In 2010, the United Way awarded $628,834 in grants to 19 local nonprofit agencies.

Staley said Habitat for Humanity, Victoria had previously received United Way funds from 2005-07 as seed money to fund an advancement position, but had to eliminate two full-time positions during the past year.

"We are thrilled with this new partnership because it supports an equally vital position - the construction, family and volunteer services coordinator," Staley said.

Habitat for Humanity, Victoria received a $17,650 grant.

The Victoria Senior Citizens Center ($65,000) and the Boys & Girls Club ($62,500) received the most funds among the agencies assisted.

"The United Way is the number one donor to the Boys and Girls Club," said executive director Marc Vendl. "It allows us to reach more than 300 members and serve more than 130 youth daily. With help from the United Way, we are able to help the at-risk youth of Victoria have a positive, safe place to go after school."

Members of the United Way leadership were also pleased with the community's response to this year's campaign and the work of their volunteers.

"The needs in our community are great and the challenges are many. The good news is clear: We are able to partner with local nonprofit agencies that are addressing the many challenges we face as a community," said Omar Rachid, chairman of the Victoria County United Way community investment committee. "Through these grants, we are assisting thousands of individuals who need help."

Thirty volunteers spent an estimated 300 hours visiting agency programs, reviewing grant proposals and deliberating grant recommendations.

"We are indebted to them for the time they have given to review proposals and manage a funding process that agencies and donors depend upon to be fair, transparent and accountable," said Kelly Park, chairman of the board of directors. "Literally thousands of individuals will benefit from their thoughtful deliberations."

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