United Way seeks volunteers to decide where money is distributed

The United Way of Greater Oswego County would like to invite community members to be part of the agency’s program funding process by participating as a volunteer member of the United Way’s Community Investment Committee.

Comprised entirely of concerned community members, the United Way’s Community Investment Committee is responsible for evaluating various agency programs available in Oswego County and recommending to the United Way Board of Directors the funding support these programs should receive.

Participation in the United Way’s Community Investment Committee provides volunteers with a unique opportunity to learn more about their community and make critical decisions on how the money raised during the United Way’s Annual Campaign will be distributed to the county’s human services providers.

“The United Way addresses human service needs throughout Oswego County. It is of the utmost importance that the community is involved in this process,” said Kathy Fenlon, president of the United Way’s board of directors.

“Having volunteers from a broad cross section of the community is quite helpful as they all bring different knowledge and perspective to the process,” Fenlon said.

Volunteers will be asked to serve on one of five panels, each dealing with a specific field or services: emergency services; children and family services; health and special needs; senior services; and youth development.

Panel members will visit agencies that offer programs related to their specific field of service where they will receive a tour of the agency.

While the United Way’s program funding process does not begin until April, the United Way is recruiting volunteers now so the Community Investment Committee and the individual panels can be established and the volunteers can receive the training they need.

As a custodian of community contributions, United Way ensures those dollars are used in a cost efficient manner to fund effective, meaningful, unduplicated services.

“We provide our Community Investment Committee volunteers with a thorough overview of the principles and polices that are a part of our program funding process,” said United Way Executive Director Melanie Trexler.

“With those parameters in mind, their objective study and review of agency programs will help ensure that there will be an effective and well-balanced array of community services available in Oswego County,” she said.

Members are asked to invest about 15 hours of their time as they meet in April for training and then conduct agency tours and budget reviews throughout April and May.

“Volunteers learn about many of the services in Oswego County. They work together to make informed decisions, knowing that their input is important to the process,” Fenlon said. “It is a process that takes little time, but produces big results and provides volunteers with a real sense of accomplishment that many past volunteers have found rewarding.”

United Way Board of Directors member, Shawn Seale of Key Bank, and Debra Braden of Fulton Savings Bank, are co-chairs of the United Way’s Community Investment Committee.

For more information, or to volunteer, contact your United Way office at 593-1900, ext. 201.

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