United Way of Blount County works to create lasting change in our community. But we know we can’t do it on our own. We understand that to make a difference in Blount County we have to work together to achieve so much more than we can alone. That’s why United Way collaborates with multiple organizations throughout the county, region, and state to make a bigger difference in our community. From community impact to our initiatives, United Way of Blount County is working to advance the common good.
United Way of Blount County’s goal for community impact is to: “Improve people’s lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community.”
We implement impact strategies through collaborative partnerships with agencies, businesses, the faith communities and donors. Facilitating collaborations around key issues, providing financial and non-financial assistance to new and existing agency programs, and leveraging community support for these efforts are just a few of the strategies employed by United Way in order to build a better community.
Ultimately, United Way isn’t just about the number of individuals served or even how many programs are funded, but about how lives in our community are changed and improved.
United Way of Blount County’s grant process is essentially comprised of two funding streams:
- Partner funding: Established, ongoing funding opportunity for programs that are accepted into partnership with United Way of Blount County after historical work in our county. Partner funding opens up in early fall for new partners annually, pending available funding. Programs must serve a Blount County population through a 501©3 with local board representation, and work in one of our three focus areas of health, education or self-sufficiency.
- Discretionary funding: Any remaining funds left after our partner funding process is allocated through discretionary grants. A committee reviews the available funds and discusses the changing needs of our local community. Based on this discussion, a grant focus is made for the remaining year. Our funding then opens up for one-time grant opportunities and any 501©3 that serves Blount County people and aligns with the focus can apply. This time frame begins in the spring when our main funding is allocated.
For more information, please reach out to Wendy Wand at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Becoming a Fund Distribution panel volunteer is an engaging way to learn more about the local nonprofit community without sacrificing too much of your time.
Each year United Way of Blount County uses 100 volunteers to review grant requests, tour partner agencies and evaluate funding decisions through our Fund Distribution process. Volunteers receive grant proposals from 3-5 programs, go through a 1-hour training, and donate 1 day of their time to the overall process that strives to be efficient, effective and engaging for all involved.
You do not need any grant reading or non-profit experience to volunteer. We are seeking Blount County residents or full-time employees who are United Way of Blount County donors, who are interested in assisting with the impact of the non-profit community around them. If you would like to learn more about this impact, or how your United Way dollars are being spent, this is a perfect way to get involved!
Every year, United Way of Blount County performs an informal needs assessment to continuously identify the concerns of the local community. Every five years, UWBC performs a formal assessment, the most recent of which occurred in the summer of 2013. We utilized an online and paper survey, and we conducted multiple community conversations in English and Spanish.
Click here for highlighted results of that assessment. For more detailed information, please contact Wendy Wand at the United Way office, 865-982-2251 ext 18.
CLS (Connect. Lead. Serve.) is made up of young professionals engaged with United Way of Blount County through their workplaces at Arconic, DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, and Clayton. This year, a Community CLS Club composed of Blount County professionals from a variety of organizations was established as well. Throughout the year, Club members meet monthly with United Way of Blount County staff and volunteers in order to accustom them with United Way’s mission and give them the knowledge to distribute funds themselves. Each club was allocated $5,000 from a special United Way of Blount County Board of Directors designation to be put toward their own mini grant process. The funding was made possible by a bequest gift from the late Pat Summitt.
Check back soon for more workshops to be scheduled.
United Way of Blount County Champions
Our Champions are an elite group of committed professionals, including business and volunteer minded people interested in and supportive of United Way of Blount County and its mission. Champions are chosen as a result of their motivation and desire to be involved and to give back to the Blount County community.
Champions will gain an understanding of what United Way is, what we do, and why we are vital to the success of our agency partners. The program runs May-December, with commitment time not to exceed 5 hours per month.
What is Bridges?
A myth-shattering framework for understanding poverty. Providing real-world examples of how socio-economic class can drive certain behaviors. This workshop is a unique and powerful tool designed to help participants more effectively serve individuals who live or have lived in poverty, giving a deeper understanding of their strengths, viewpoint, challenges, and barriers. For more information on Bridges and other educational opportunities, please click here.
Local data on poverty
Hidden rules of socio-economic classes
Internal & external factors affecting poverty
Ways to make an impact
SERVE, which stands for Students Engaged in Rewarding Volunteer Experiences, is a partnership among Coulter Grove Intermediate School, Montgomery Ridge Intermediate School and United Way of Blount County. This partnership enables several hundred students to get out into the community while completing service projects at several local nonprofit agencies.