United Way gives funds to agencies

KINGMAN - River Cities United Way recently allocated $62,000 to Kingman-based programs for 2012/2013.

The organization uses donations it receives from the community to fund programs within partner agencies. The money River Cities Manager Kathy Hopper raises in Kingman stays in Kingman.

"I wish we could do more," said Lorraine Leeming, the chair for the River Cities United Way board.

Kingman Aid to Abused People has funding allocated for two of its programs. Its domestic violence and education and prevention program gets $7,500 over the course of the year, and its domestic violence shelter and supportive service program gets $8,500.

A total of 18 local programs are slated to receive money through quarterly payments in the year, with amounts varying between $1,000 and $10,000.

Agencies submit applications and requests for money to River Cities. An allocation committee made up of volunteers reviews the applications, interviews the applicants and makes recommendations to the board, Leeming said.

The process doesn't end once the board decides which programs receive funding.

The agencies are held accountable, Leeming said. The money awarded through quarterly payments hinges upon whether or not entities can produce quarterly reports that show all the money is being used as intended.

If an agency shows that it doesn't need all the money promised for a particular program, River Cities will then adjust the amount. The excess money can then be used to help fund another program within the agency, Leeming said.

"The big thing is that it's accountable," Leeming said. "But it's also very flexible."

Leeming started in allocations committee. She said that's where the rubber meets the road.

A woman in her 50s walked into a meeting one day and told the committee that she wanted to share her story, Leeming said. She was dressed nicely and said, "I used to be like you." But then, she said, she got sick, had surgery and her husband died. She was raising four grandchildren by herself and had hit rock bottom, Leeming said.

But the Salvation Army was there to help her get back on her feet. Those nice clothes she was wearing didn't come from Dillard's or Nordstrom - they came from the Salvation Army.

"Her story touched my heart," Leeming said. That's what the allocations meetings are all about - people sharing their stories and showing that the programs are more than just numbers on a page. "Being involved with the committee made this organization that much more important to me."

Hopper explained that agencies applying for funding must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, and they must have a two- to three-year track record.

"What have you been up to?" Hopper said. "Is your program sustainable?"

United Way is one of the only national organizations that can collect money for other entities, Hopper said.

Leeming said River Cities' most successful form of fundraising is the payroll deduction.

"It's easy to allow $5 to be taken out of your paychecks," Leeming said. "People want to help," and the easier you make it for them to do so the better.

People can also designate where they want their donations to go. Even if an organization is not partnered with United Way, Leeming said designated donations can still go it. In fact, nearly $10,000 has been allocated to programs designated by donors for this payment cycle.

Now that allocations are out, it's time to get ready for the next year of fundraising.

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. October 10, River Cities is hosting its Campaign Kickoff Party featuring food, drinks and live entertainment at Metcalfe Park, 315 W. Beale St. Call Hopper at (928) 753-6720 to RSVP.

On Nov. 3, River Cities is having its 2nd Annual Quail Run, which features a 5k run and a walk and 1k run for children. You can register in person at River Cities United Way, 2202 Hualapai Mountain Road, and at Bicycle Outfitters, 3001 Stockton Hill Road. All proceeds will benefit Kids! Bright and Healthy, a program that helps give prenatal care, education and assistance to uninsured pregnant women and their families.

River Cities is also in need of volunteers. Call Hopper if you're interested.

Whether volunteers are put on a committee or board, when it's time to help with an event everyone is expected to chip in, Leeming said.

"You will be physically working," she said. "Volunteers do not just sit back" and wait for something to happen.

Sidebar:

The following agencies are set to receive funding from River Cities United Way over the course of the next year. The money received goes to specific programs within the agencies and approved by River Cities.

Community legal Services, Inc. $1,500

Boys & Girls Club of Kingman $14,000

Kingman Aid to Abused People $16,000

Social Service Interagency Council $2,000

Special Olympics Arizona $3,000

Arizona's Children Association $2,000

Cornerstone Mission $6,000

Advice and Aid Pregnancy Center $2,000

Kingman Area Food Bank $4,000

Northern Arizona University Foundation $4,000

Sarah's House Foundation $1,000

St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance $2,500

Salvation Army $4,000