How the Community Investment Process Works
Requests for three year funding from the United Way is made by the Funded Agency for programs identifying a specific community need. The Agency may apply for the financing of one or more programs.
The Funded Agency must submit a "Letter of Intent", (LOT), to demonstrate how the program will meet a specific community need and the impact the program will have on our community. The LOI's are then reviewed by the Community Investment Committee to determine if the program moves on to the full budget submission step. It is the responsibility of each Funded Agency to educate the Panel Members, (Volunteers from our Community), about its programs and operations so that the Panel Members can make recommendations that meet the United Way Sarnia-Lambton mandate as well as satisfy the financial needs of the Agency.
Three Step Volunteer Review Process
Step 1: Community Investment Panel
Every three years, between 18 and 24 community volunteers are organized into smaller groups, called Panels. The Panel reviews the Funded Agency's proposed program's) budget and allocation request and evaluates the Agency by using the criteria of NEED, EFFECTIVENESS, EFFICIENCY, COMMUNITY SUPPORT and FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.
Step 2: Community Investment Committee
This sub-committee of the United Way Board of Directors reviews the recommendations of the Panels and recommends to the Board the level of funding to Agencies.
Step 3: The Board of Directors
The Board of Directors of the United Way makes all final decisions with regard to investment/allocation levels for each of the programs. The Board acts on advice from the Community Investment Committee, which in turn is advised by the Community Investment Panel.
The process of fundraising (Resource Development) occurs annually and then investment (Community Investment), occurs every three years throughout October, November and December.
It is interesting to note that the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton does not provide or directly run community programs or services. The United Way focuses its resources on the annual Campaign and the Community Investment Process. If an important community need arises, the United Way will not provide the program, but will fund the program should any agency apply to address the need.
In some cases, the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton has tendered a program needed in the Sarnia-Lambton Community and provides a portion of the funds to support the program. For example: Two neighborhood resource houses were issued a tender to provide family support programs.