FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Tory Gillett
336-721-9321 (office) / 336-682-7468 (cell)
UNITED WAY OF FORSYTH COUNTY ANNOUNCES $2.8 MILLION IN “PLACE MATTERS” INVESTMENTS
United Way of Forsyth County has awarded an incremental $2,800,000 to social service organizations in Forsyth County as part of the 2016-2017 investment cycle. This amount is in addition to the $8,821,257 awarded in December of 2015. While the first wave of funding was invested in community-wide initiatives, the second wave is dedicated to the Place Matters pilot . Although funding decisions were handled in two waves this year, the total amount being invested in the community through United Way is consistent with last year.
Through United Way’s partnership with Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods—a local grassroots community organizing agency—residents were engaged to lead the effort and ensure investments aligned with the priorities of those who live in the CiVIC neighborhoods (a name selected by residents, which stands for Community Voices Impacting Community). An Impact Council comprised of residents identified investment priorities, reviewed funding applications, and made investment recommendations to the United Way board of directors.
Paula McCoy, Executive Director of Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods, says “This process fosters community engagement and resident ownership, ensuring buy-in and ultimately making results more sustainable on a long-term basis.”
“We cannot thank the Resident Impact Council enough for their work on this effort,” says Alana James, Director of Community-Based Collaborations for United Way of Forsyth County. “Their dedication and commitment to strengthening their community is truly an inspiration.”
In 2013, the United Way board of directors approved a new place-based strategy. The intent was to focus energy and resources in an area of our community that, while facing challenges, also has a number of strengths upon which to build. The Place Matters pilot program was designed to target thirteen neighborhoods in east and northeast Winston-Salem. The program leverages the assets of the community—residents, social service organizations, faith-based and educational institutions—to create lasting change in our community. The CiVIC neighborhoods were identified based on analysis of data, favorable resident engagement and interest, population size, and existing assets. More than 10,500 people live in these neighborhoods and the immediate surrounding areas where this work will be focused.
The Place Matters funding process was open to any organization and potential partners were asked to submit proposals that aligned with those priorities identified by residents: unemployment and underemployment, mutigenerational support, healthy living, and housing stock and vacant lots. Recipients of the Place Matters grants include a number of traditional United Way agencies, but also new partners with a presence in the CiVIC neighborhoods. In keeping with other strategic shifts implemented by United Way this year, a number of multi-agency collaborative proposals were also funded.
“The collective team is excited to be announcing these grants after a lengthy and incredibly well-considered process,” says Cindy Gordineer, President and CEO of United Way of Forsyth County. “Here at United Way, we are convinced that focusing on neighborhoods with greater challenges will enable us to move the needle community-wide on the critical areas of health, financial stability, and education.”
Part of the Place Matters pilot program also includes a Grassroots Grants initiative for proposals under a $10,000 threshold. This funding application process will be handled in conjunction with Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods’ small grants review and funds will be allocated on a monthly basis.
More specific details on the programs funded as part of the Place Matters investment process is available on United Way’s website at https://www.forsythunitedway.org/our-impact/positive-change-2/. Additional information on Place Matters is available at https://www.forsythunitedway.org/place-matters/.