United Way of Blount County allocation panel at Second Harvest

Aaron Snukals of Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee provides a tour of the facility to United Way of Blount County allocation panelists.

The United Way of Blount County has announced its 2016 agency allocations, following an annual campaign which raised more than $2 million to fund programs in the community.

More than 80 local volunteers participated in the grant application and review process. Groups of volunteers called allocation panels visited United Way’s partner agencies to hear their funding requests. Final funding decisions were reviewed and approved by the United Way’s board of directors at its February meeting.

“The board at staff at United Way appreciate the volunteer leadership shown by this group as they give their time and ability to carefully consider how donations should be reinvested into our community to help those most vulnerable,” said Matt Webb, community impact chair, in a press release. “Every dollar given to United Way of Blount County is invested with care and for impact in Blount County.”

A total of $1,441,346 will be distributed to 46 programs at 29 partner agencies. Some of the funding allocations are one-year grants, while others are multi-year grants. Grant amounts vary based on an organization’s funding request and needs.

All of the funded programs fall within one of UWBC’s three focus areas of health, education and self-sufficiency.

In the area of health, priority is placed on access to healthcare services, mental health and prevention and treatment programs for various health issues, including substance abuse. In education, emphasis is placed on family support and training and adult education.

Target issues for self-sufficiency include housing support, transportation, basic/special needs and crisis and disaster assistance.

“Over the last year, our community impact committee has concentrated on Blount County’s most vulnerable — those who would otherwise go without the much needed services our community partners are providing,” said Wendy Wand, director of community impact.

“We’ve decided to focus our funding in a way that would allow support for these individuals and families, and our partners were all trained on this process before the allocation panels began. I’m proud to say that our volunteers took the definition of vulnerability very seriously as they distributed the funds to programs that are reaching our neighbors in need,” Wand said.

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