United Way of Blount County has made its 2015 discretionary funding allocations, following an application process, Community Impact Committee proposal and a board of directors vote last week.

These allocations, which allow United Way to respond to opportunities that arise outside of the normal funding cycle, totaled $77,115, and were distributed among four different nonprofit agencies.

“This year, the Community Impact Committee focused on ‘big picture projects’ and asked the question, ‘Do nonprofits in our area have great plans and need support to get them over a hurdle to their goal?’” said Wendy Wand, director of Community Impact at United Way. “We had so many amazing applicants, and decisions were so tough this year. We were able to support some of our partner agencies as they expand their services, and we brought in some new programs as well.”

Below are the four agency discretionary allocations, along with brief descriptions of the funded programs:

Adult Education Foundation & Recovery Court: Comprehensive Employability — This program will assist ex-offenders as they prepare for transition into successful employment and self-sufficiency.

The grant will provide life skills training, money management, job skills training and high school equivalency preparation.

New Hope – Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center: Therapy Services — This program will make specialized services more accessible to children in Blount County unreached by any current therapy services. The grant will be used to train staff and increase therapy hours.

Blount County Community Action Agency: SMILES — This program will continue to provide senior transportation designed to contribute to the quality of life and independence for Blount County seniors who no longer drive.

Special Opps Inc.: Special Growers — This program provides opportunities to disabled young adults by employing them and teaching them how to grow herbs and peppers to distribute to local restaurants. The grant will help hire additional staff.

And for the second year in a row, United Way of Blount County is funding the Foundation Directory Online, a database system operated by the Foundation Center, which gives access to more than 140,000 grant-makers and millions of grants.

This user-friendly, keyword search service is available at the United Way office to anyone in Blount County looking for grant funding.

For more information on United Way of Blount County discretionary funding, or to schedule a time to use the Foundation Directory Online, please call 865-982-2251.

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