United Way Awards Funding to 58 Local Programs and Recognizes Volunteers

Staff Report From Columbus CEO

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley announced the results of the 2017 Community Investment Volunteer Review and recognized the dedication of 65 individuals who served as volunteers.  The funding recommendations of the Community Investment Volunteers were presented to the United Way Board of Directors and unanimously approved. United Way will award funding to 58 local programs through 29 agencies in the upcoming fiscal year.

“Donors to the United Way can be assured that their gift is invested in quality local programs that demonstrate they are filling a true community need, are good stewards of the dollars, and are changing people’s lives right here in the Chattahoochee Valley,” stated Scott Ferguson, President & CEO of United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley.

Several new programs were approved for funding this year, including BRIDGE of Columbus, MercyMed Dentistry, Oxbow Meadows Life and Environmental Science Enrichment Program, and Southeastern Vet to Vet. Each of these programs will use the funding to strengthen their programs. BRIDGE of Columbus will provide additional support for at least 78 young adults who need to improve their literacy skills to earn their GED, MercyMed Dentistry will provide affordable dental care to the underserved, Oxbow Meadows Life and Environmental Science Enrichment Program will be able to bring their unique STEM based program to Title 1 schools, and Southeastern Vet to Vet will provide counseling and peer support to Veterans as they reenter civilian life.

Nine volunteer teams evaluated requests for funding during the six-week Community Investment process. Volunteers reviewed applications and attended site visits to see the programs in action. Volunteers also met board members, clients and staff that support these programs. The majority of the Community Investment Volunteers have participated in the past while other volunteers have a connection to United Way through the annual campaign or the Volunteer Center.  All volunteers demonstrate their commitment to United Way, the programs under review, and the community through their dedicated service and hard work.

Each program was reviewed in terms of how it met a community need, achieved results and exercised good stewardship. All programs are providing services within the United Way’s four core areas – Basic Needs, Income, Health, and Education. In addition, the financial position of each agency was reviewed by a separate group of volunteers who have a strong experience in accounting and financial management.

“Our community investment process continues to be an amazing example of how a committed and diverse group of community volunteers can have a positive impact on people’s lives,” said Bob Kidd, CEO of Hecht Burdeshaw Architects and Community Investment Board Chair.  “We are truly blessed to have such dedicated volunteers who truly care about and strive to make our local United Way one of the very best in the world. I am honored to have been part of such a unique and rewarding experience.”

As with any funding process with limited resources, standards are raised and the competition for limited resources is more intense.  This year, two current partners were not approved for funding in 2017-2018.  The decision not to fund an agency is only reached after an extensive review and great consideration.

“The United Way funds programs that are filling a real need in the community, can demonstrate results, and are good stewards of the community’s funds.  The decision to end funding to the Columbus Community Center was not made lightly.  United Way staff and volunteers have been working closely with the staff and Board members of the Columbus Community Center for several years and more intensively since the beginning of the year. The United Way does not provide management of an agency, but we have provided advice on budgeting, program delivery and sustainability of the Columbus Community Center. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the Center’s staff and Board to implement high quality programming and ensure financial viability. The United Way is focused on ensuring children and youth in our community have access to quality after school and summer programming,” said Scott Ferguson.

United Way wants to see the Columbus Community Center return to sustainability, offering help if possible. When the Columbus Community Center regains stability, United Way would encourage them to reapply for funding. Last year the Urban League received a venture grant of $10,000. This grant was not renewed this year.  A clear and concise case for funding was not made by the Urban League, which resulted in the Community Investment volunteers' decision to not renew funding. United Way encourages them to address the concerns and reapply for funding in the future. “The Community Investment process ensures that dollars are invested in exceptional local programs that are changing lives in the Chattahoochee Valley, amplifying the impact of every dollar entrusted to United Way by donors,” Scott Ferguson added.

Agencies and programs listed within the four core areas of service – Basic Needs, Income, Education, and Health:

Basic Needs

American Red Cross, Russell County

Emergency Services

American Red Cross West Central GA

Emergency Services

Feeding the Valley, Inc.    

Food Distribution     

Kid's Café

Open Door Community House, Inc.     

Showering Program for the Homeless    

Virginia D. Jackson Home for Women

SafeHouse Ministries

Grace House            


Trinity House

Salvation Army       

Homeless Shelter/Meals Program           

Social Services Program

Stewart Community Home, Inc.

Stewart Community Home


B.R.I.D.G.E. of Columbus, Inc.


Family Center of Columbus, Inc.           

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of West GA/East AL

Homeless Resource Network    

Homeless Services

Open Door Community House, Inc.     

Circles in Columbus

SafeHouse Ministries       

MCJ Education

Southeastern Vet to Vet Peer Support, Inc.



American Red Cross, Russell County

Community Services

American Red Cross, West Central GA

Community Services

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Chattahoochee Valley     

Healthy Lifestyles

Crisis Center of Russell County           

Prevention Education

Rape Crisis Response Center

Shelter and Services for Victims of Domestic Violence

Easterseals West Georgia, Inc.  

Family Support Programs

Therapeutic Care and Education

Family Center of Columbus, Inc.           

Family Counseling of Columbus

FAST (Families and Schools Together)

Girls Incorporated of Columbus & Phenix-Russell  


Homeless Resource Network    

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS

Hope Harbour        

Community Outreach Program

Shelter and Services

House of T.I.M.E. Inc.        

Homeless to a Home

House of T.I.M.E

MercyMed of Columbus

MercyMed Coumadin Clinic

MercyMed Dental Clinic

Russell County Child Advocacy Center, Inc.

Child Advocacy Program

KEEP (Kids Engaged in Education and Prevention) Program

STARS (Specialized Treatment for Adolescents without Residential Services) Program

Teen Advisors, Inc.           

Elevate 9th Grade Program

Teen Advisors High School Program

Velocity Middle School Program

Teens Empowerment Awareness with ResolutionS, Inc.       

TEARS Student Assistance Program

Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services, Inc.           

Chattahoochee Court Appointed Special Advocates

Children's Tree House - Child Advocacy Center


Boys & Girls Clubs of the Chattahoochee Valley     

Character and Leadership Development

Education and Career Development

Chattahoochee Council, Boy Scouts of America     

Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting

Family Center of Columbus, Inc.           

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Chattahoochee Valley

Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy

Growing Early Childhood Literacy

Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia  

Girl Scout Leadership Development

Girl Scout Outdoor Program

Girls Incorporated of Columbus & Phenix-Russell  


Open Door Community House, Inc.     

Mathews Promise Academy

Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center

Oxbow Meadows Life and Environmental Science Enrichment Program

Salvation Army       

After-School Program/Summer Day Camp

YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus         

Rearing Children and Youth at Risk

Student Success - Youth Sports and Aquatics