By Sandra Zunino
People helping people, enriches a community. Small philanthropic agencies require funding; but often don’t have the workforce to generate the amount of money needed to succeed in their missions. Fortunately, the United Fund of Talbot County helps make the unattainable attainable
Founded by local humanitarians McKinney Willis Jr. and Morgan B Schiller, the United Fund of Talbot County supports essential services and programs that benefit thousands of local individuals and their families throughout the area. United Fund of Talbot County is neither part of, nor associated with the national organization known as the United Way.
Since it began in 1955, the United Fund has raised and donated more than $13 million to meet the underfunded human services needs of the community including the developmentally disabled, families in crisis, victimized and abused, elderly and frail, impoverished and needy, and youth.
Agencies such as the American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula, Easton Day Care Center, Talbot Mentors, Talbot Special Riders, and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of Talbot County among others, receive grants from the United Fund so they each can continue in their respective altruistic missions.
Every year, agency funding requests are extensively reviewed by an Agency Review Committee including a thorough analysis of operational effectiveness and ability to deliver programs and support essential to a better life for the local community, as well as adherence to sound fiscal practices.
“No agency is rubber stamped with approval,” according to Ann M. Jacobs, Executive Director of United Fund of Talbot County. “Each must meet the criteria and go through a rigorous application process each year.” It takes about two and a half months for the investigation procedure to take place. After thorough research, making sure the agency’s mission is in keeping with the mission of the United Fund, the United Fund Board of Directors decides the grant payout amount.
This year, the UFTC board of directors voted to allocate $330,000 to 21 member agencies for its 2010-11 campaign. Twenty-two agencies had requested more than $429,000.
One goal is to help underfunded philanthropic agencies get off the ground and become established. “Ideally, we would like to provide funding for agencies until they can grow and do fundraising on their own,” explains Ann. “This provides slots so new agencies can benefit from the United Fund.”
Agencies awarded funds for 20010/2011 included American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula, Building African American Minds, Boy Scouts in Talbot County, CASA of Talbot County, Channel Marker, Character Counts!, Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers, and Delmarva Community Services, among others.
With the current economic climate, these organizations will need help more than ever. Thanks to the United Fund, there is hope that these agencies will continue to be able to support the community. Of course, the success of the United Fund is due to the commitment of generous contributors, dedicated volunteers, and a hands-on board of directors, all of whom take a personal stake in the health and sustainability of the Talbot County community.
For more information on the United Fund of Talbot County, visit www.unitedfund.org.